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The Phoenix Gate

Comment Room Archive

Comments for the week ending February 7, 2021

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Oh sure, sorry, I might've been unclear - the part I like is that, even though they are all definitely regressing like you say, I think it's notable that Artemis, even though she was pretty standoffish and determined to prove that she was tough and independent and all at first, still goes with M'gann when the group is splitting up rather than heading off on her own out of some belief that being capable is the same thing as being completely self-sufficient, not needing or wanting to work with anyone else. It makes the regression feel like it's there, without setting everyone all the way back to square 1.

Huh, interesting. You're right it doesn't feel like a Light plot - but then again, the impression I always got from the Light's network of villains is that 90% of them don't know they're in that kind of network. I mean to say, it always felt to me like there's the Light at the top, then their various subordinates like Sportsmaster, Psimon, Manta, who know the Light exist and work for them as a whole, then tiers of subordinates who either work for a specific member without knowing the rest of the Light exists (like the various Shadows and probably Onslaught) or who are independent villains who trade favors back and forth with villains in the know about the Light, who get involved because that guy Icicle Sr asked for a no-questions-asked bit of help on some scheme and they agreed so that he'll help them with their own thing later. So most of the villains consider themselves independent, come up with most of their plans independently, but can still be pulled in by a Light underling when it would help with a plan, without it seeming like a deviation from the normal quid-pro-quos villains usually do for each other. And while the Light are smart, they probably don't keep an especially close eye on every villain's every scheme - they've got stuff to do! - so Morrow-droid could've come up with the extinction event plan all on his own and gotten as far as he did without them cottoning on, if they thought it was just his average killer-robot plans. It's a theory, anyways.

Karrin Blue

Karrin> I don't think it's so much that Artemis is getting more caged off but rather the "betrayal" of Red Tornado and the revelation that Aqualad knowing there was an insider caused a bit of regression in all the characters. Artemis was starting to open to her teammates and then started closing herself off again, Superboy's temper resurfaces not long after he made some great steps on getting it under control and Robin and Kid Flash's ill feelings towards authority figures cause them to be derisive towards Aqualad and Captain Marvel.

So I forgot to mention this but the plan to erupt the Yellowstone Caldera wasn't Red Volcano's plan, it's said in the episode that it was Morrow's (or at least his android counterpart) plan. And considering the Light's machinations involving other worlds I can't imagine it would gel well with the Red's "Let's wipe out the Northern Hemisphere" scheme.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

Well, last week was... busy... so I actually have a couple episodes to put my thoughts in on! Better late than never, I guess.

Alpha Male is one of those ones where, I don't exactly like seeing the young Team at odds, but it does get us some great moments. Matthew, you mention Artemis getting more caged off after Homefront, but I do like that when the group is splitting up, she's backing M'gann up against Conner and going off with her. We hadn't seen a lot of them bonding, so even in the midst of Teen Drama it's good to see some of those lesser-utilized friendships coming to the fore. Also speaking of little characterization moments, one of my absolute favorite Kaldur moments is when, right after Captain Marvel has his insightful speech, he rushes off, and Kaldur goes "Hey, Speed of Mercury." We get to see him joke or make digs at other characters so rarely, so it's really a treat to see that he DOES have a sense of humor and irony. ("Trust is a two-way street and you know they'd hate it if we kept secrets from them." "Not that we'd do that. Never." is another hilarious moment in retrospect, considering, even with it coming in the middle of the fight)

Honestly my memories of Gorilla Warfare were a little vague. I really do still enjoy how Young Justice is taking all these goofy, Silver-Age-y concepts, bringing them in, and taking them seriously without making them all grim-and-gritty. And - although we won't see this in full until the last arc of the comics - I am pretty fond of how, for completely logical reasons, things shook out so that Grodd is seen as a somewhat standoffish, aggressive, but generally reasonable and certainly not malicious character by all the heroes. It's just a cool change of pace from the usual.

Onto Revelation! It's another fun one. Honestly, I wonder if the implication that Poison Ivy was one of the seed members the Light put on the Injustice League to guide events will ever bear fruit (well, she and Vertigo share a glance when they surrender, and we know he's involved, so I don't think it's an unfounded guess that she was too.)

Re: Humanity's final thoughts - was Red Volcano's plot to kick off the supervolcano a Light scheme? I thought it was one of those rare plots in this show that a villain came up with all on their own - after all, it was basically an extinction event.

Karrin Blue

I kinda figured where WandaVision was headed since I read "House of M" back in the day and most believe that this is going to be the MCU's take on it.

Todd> Red Tornado is kind of an odd duck in terms of DC. In some stories he gets his powers due to an air elemental being bonded to his machinery and sometimes they just don't explain it all.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

ALEX> I've been following WandaVision pretty avidly myself. Last certainly raised a lot of questions.
"He's gone." -Adora

I visit this site on British history each morning (https://www.britainexpress.com/History/index.htm); one of its features is a mini-quiz on British history. Today's question was which Scottish king defeated the English at the Battle of Bannockburn; I noticed that one of the alternative answers (alongside the correct one, Robert the Bruce) was Macbeth, which evoked the revelation in the Stone of Destiny story in "Clan-Building" that, in the Gargoyles Universe, Macbeth did indeed fight on the Scottish side at Bannockburn. (I doubt that the people who set up the site were familiar with "Gargoyles" or had that in mind, though.)
Todd Jensen

I've been dealing with some health issues and trying to get back in shape in quarantine mainly, but I have been watching Wandavision. (Which I thought was initially pretty misguided but has hit it's stride in the last couple of episodes) I'm catching up on season 13 of RuPaul's Drag Race, which has been solid.

Also rewatched a few old episodes of Bewitched, which despite it's reputation for being really hokey, had a lot of really solid episodes about domesticity and some really clever plotting and writing.

Oh, not sure if you've seen it Masterdramon, but I've been watching Gilgamesh. Which is great. Wasn't in the mood for it the first time I watched it, but now it's hitting just right.

Finally got to continue rewatching Gargoyles with the cousin, who I think is definitely starting to enjoy it more and really get into the show.

Deadly Force was a really solid episode. It felt a lot more focused than Temptation or the Pack episode, and felt like a real Goliath & Broadway story with a lot of focus whereas I felt Goliath's presence in the other two episodes was much more obligatory. The stakes felt really high, and there was a lot of really great cinematography.

The edits on the kitchen scene were obnoxious, though. Almost takes all the tension out of the scene completely unfortunately. Also cool to see Elisa's family here. This is really good character seeding. With simple little things like Chavez being familiar with Elisa's parents. Even the fact that Elisa has parents is cool. It really fleshes out her character and even in these brief scenes, Diane and Peter are pretty fleshed out.

Enter Macbeth is so, so, so hard to watch. The animation just undercuts every serious scene. There's some great scenes in this one, I love Xanatos's little bit with Macbeth. The music for Macbeth is great and gives him a really distinct feel from the other villains. It's also just another episode that is *so* focused. Xanatos is coming home. The secondary stuff with Macbeth and Demona is mostly just seeding, with the core focus being the Gargoyles are in danger and they need to leave the castle.

I KINDA wish a little more time was given to that plot in this episode, because I think it's a little more consequential at this point, but that's really just a nitpick.

The Edge is probably the second best episode of the series for me. It's beautifully animated, and really solidly identifies Xanatos's character for the rest of the series. It also gives Goliath a bit more focus. And again, the episode itself is just so beautifully paced and focused. Every scene contributes to the following one, and every beat really tells you more and more about the characters. The script is super solid and has some great jokes too. Everything is so brisk.

On Young Justice... I wasn't super fond of the Injustice Gang episode from what I recall. My problem with the Joker wasn't so much Brent Spiner as they sort of just made the Joker really one-note and gross. Brent Spiner is a *very* funny guy, and I don't really think he had a ton to work with here. The rest of the episode was fine from what I remember. I think Aqualad's plan to use the helmet was clever, and I like how they keep bringing back the magical aspect of his character.

I liked what the show did with the Red Elemental Robots. It was a cool take on characters I really knew nothing about. Kinda fun and clever to interconnect it with other scientist & engineer plotlines. Red Volcano was also pretty intimidating from what I remember -- but that's literally all I recall about the episode.

Alex (Aldrius)

@Todd, yes, the four Reds are themed after the four elements! And they all existed prior to the show - fittingly, although Tornado, Danette, and Jim have existed in various forms since the 40s, Volcano is the 'youngest' with his first appearance being in 2008 (although Danette and Jim weren't robots in their first appearances.)

Interestingly, as has been mentioned in over in the Q&A side a few times, there was a mini series in 2009 where Tornado had two sibling 'bots called Inferno and Tornado - but which one was his sister and his brother were reversed.

Karrin Blue

This is probably coming too late in the week (I ought to have included this question during my initial response to Matthew's latest "Young Justice" review), but I noted that the names of the four "Reds" in the Red Tornado arc evoke the four elements of ancient and medieval thought. As I gathered, their names were Red Tornado, Red Inferno, Red Torpedo, and Red Volcano. A tornado as a powerful whirlwind would suggest air. Inferno, of course, would evoke fire. A torpedo is a naval weapon, which would suggest water. And volcanoes, while automatically evoking fire as well, are disturbances of the earth, and would thus match earth as well.

I know very little about Red Tornado (I probably hadn't even heard of him before watching Season One of "Young Justice"), and I definitely don't know how much of the arc involving him was based on DC Comics and how much was "Young Justice"'s invention, and whether the other three "Reds" were the creation of the series or pre-existing characters, but I did wonder if the names were intended to evoke the four elements.

Todd Jensen

Thanks Todd, when it comes to DC characters I like make sure I stagger some of them around so maybe a character is introduced in one episode but they're a lot more prominent in another episode so I might do the DC profile later rather than sooner. And of course the more well known characters I don't feel the need to do one at all, like how it was with Poison Ivy and Joker in "Revelation."

Now for the next two episodes. Oh boy. I've been looking forward to those.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

MATTHEW - Thanks for the latest review.

I remember bits of that episode, including the "She's grounded for life" part, though not enough to comment on it. I think you did a good job reviewing it, as ever, including filling in the background on the less-well-known DC Comics characters (something you've been doing in all your "Young Justice" reviews, I've noticed, which was very helpful).

Todd Jensen

The Avatar cycle of Reds is complete. Watched "Humanity" today, with the Kobra Venom arc wrapped up we return to the mystery of Red Tornado, and by extension the mole arc as well. One thing I noticed was that for such a small part of the overall season, a lot of horror shows up when Morrow's around. First M'Gann crushing the fake Stikk, then there's him slicing through Torpedo and Inferno's human disguises, him deciding to play Frankenstein and finally what happens to him at the end. I like the little details leading up to the reveal as well; while characters that first appeared way back in the 30's or 40's are famous for not aging this series is known for not being stuck in comic book time so the fact that he looks the same despite his "daughter" being killed in 1939 should raise some questions. There's something oddly sad about the fate of the true Morrow, decades of inventing and scheming and what's left of his dreams is usurped by his robotic doppelganger and his creation. And all that's left is a sickly, old man. Too weak to even move in his bed.

Just like Captain Marvel did in "Alpha Male" the arrival of Zatanna really shakes up the team dynamic though this time they're a lot more open to it. I especially like how her magic is utilized this episode, rather than throwing around bolts of lightning or reshaping reality she's using it in more subtle ways or as a form of support for the team. Plus her interactions with Robin are pretty cute, the first season really knows how to differentiate the relationships and make all of them interesting: M'Gann shows her attraction to Conner early on and the two are together for most of the season, Wally and Artemis bang their heads together in a "will they or won't they" for most of the season. But here we get some flirtatious banter from Robin (who's obviously isn't used to that) and Zatanna not only reciprocates but gives her own banter as well. It's actually refreshing to see a relationship work so well straight from the beginning. Then there's the little foreshadowing coming from Zatara about her never joining the Team. And that little look of concern from Canary after she calls the Team trustworthy is just hilarious.

Red Volcano is a great antagonist as well, a few episodes Torpedo and Inferno nearly killed all of the team and now they have to face off against an android that is not only stronger and smarter he has no problem with his elemental mastery. And that's not even getting into his masterplan; so bit of volcanology here. The Yellowstone Caldera does indeed exist and were it ever to erupt you can say goodbye to North America as a best case scenario. The geysers, fumaroles and hot springs help relieve the pressure but with nature it's just a matter of time. It takes the sacrifice of Red Torpedo and Red Inferno and the near sacrifice of Red Tornado to put him down and even then if it wasn't for Wally's quick thinking and Superboy saving Tornado millions could've died.

Some Final Thoughts: We see that from the conversation with Ivo that Morrow is indeed a member of the Light. I know Survival of the Fittest is part of Vandal's credo but at the same time we learn in Season 3 that he despises wasteful loss of life when it can serve a better purpose. I just can't see the eruption in Yellowstone as aligning with the Light's plan in the long run. Tornado's plan to fake a defection to find his creator only to find himself unable to do anything after he's disassembled kinda reminds me of Robin's plan to play dead in "Homefront" only to pass out from nearly drowning. Even shows androids are capable of not thinking things through.

Wally gets to show off his smarts this episode, and while Robin suggests they need a dumb idea to find Tornado what he suggests is actually pretty logical. Criminology often requires looking into allies, acquaintances and competitors when searching for suspects so it would stand to reason that Ivo would be a viable source of information, and I guess we can add volcanology to the list of things he's knowledgeable about. We get some good development from Superboy too this episode, it's no secret that M'Gann nearly dying shook him up badly and he's backslid back into his hair-trigger temperament because of it. And yet Kaldur's words about giving him the chance to be more than the weapon he was designed to be obviously struck a cord which causes him to save Tornado and thus the Northern Hemisphere.

And finally, the deaths of Red Torpedo and Red Inferno show that this series isn't going to shy away from the loss of heroes. Something that will show up again.

Acting MVP: Lacey Chabert makes a strong first impression as Zatanna but the true MVP has got to go to Jeff Bennett, for a monotonic character he manages to bring a lot of, well, humanity to Red Tornado. His performance as both Volcano and T. O. Morrow is also suitably creepy.

DC Profiles: Tomek Ovadya Morah, later anglicized to Thomas Oscar Morrow, was a brilliant roboticist whose special television set allowed him to see one hundred years into the future. Using this future knowledge he developed machines for crime mostly out of boredom. His most famous creation would be Red Tornado due to him turning against his creator and fighting for the side of good. It's a little funny that he quotes the Parable of the Prodigal Son to Tornado since Morrow in the comics is Jewish, also the reason why amoral that he is he refuses to work alongside any of DC's Nazi villains.

Favorite Lines:

Zatanna: We're not really taking a tour, are we?
Superboy: No. We're hunting down that robot.
Aqualad: Yes. We are.
Zatanna: Wow. Out loud and everything.
Artemis: What about the new girl?
Robin: I'm sure she won't tell.
Zatanna: I can't tell. Not if you kidnap me.
Artemis: Oh she's going to fit in great.

Morrow: Once upon a time, a brilliant scientist decided to build his own superhero to infiltrate and destroy the Justice Society of America. His first creation was, "Red Torpedo, Hero of the Ocean Deep." A machine programmed to think he was a man. Unfortunately, that programming was crude, Torpedo never quite fit in. Your eldest brother was a failure. But the scientist believed in his plan and began again. Your sister debuted as Firebrand, a much loved and admired heroine. If only she hadn’t been so darn heroic. Yet our intrepid scientist would not quit and this time the android would know he was an android. The new approach worked. "Red Tornado, the Robot Hero" was inducted into the Justice Society. The scientist believed he had triumphed! But Tornado’s original heroic programming and Pinocchio-like desire to become more human caused him to betray his creator, his *father*! Still the scientist refuses to give up.

Ivo: Oh, please. As if I've never faced a telepath before.
Zatanna: Trulb tuo S'worrom eurt noitacol!
Ivo: Morrow’s in a secret underground base beneath Yellowstone National Park 100 meters South of Old Faithful. Wait- What just happened?!

Morrow: Finally, the scientist has built an android that transcends the need to be human. No more Pinocchios.
Red Volcano: [Red Volcano grabs Morrow by the hand] HELLO, FATHER.
T. O. Morrow: Son- you're hurting me!

Superboy: What's our ETA to Yellowstone? I'm way past ready to stuff Tornado into a trash compactor!
Aqualad: Are you certain he betrayed us?
Superboy: Aren't you?!
Aqualad: I am not convinced. And even so, that makes him but a victim of his creator's programming. Certainly he deserves the chance to prove he's more than the weapon others designed him to be.

Superboy, Miss Martian: We're not humans!

Red Tornado: WE MUST STOP HIM.

Superboy:...Why did you volunteer to become our Den Mother in the first place?
Kid Flash: But you do have advanced AI Programming designed to learn, adapt, evolve.
Miss Martian: Hello M'Gann. You wanted to become more human.
Artemis: And you couldn't do that with the League. They're stiffs.
Robin: You're sure not going to learn emotion from Batman. Trust me.
Aqualad: Then the cave was not a proving ground only for us - but for you as well.
Superboy: See? Practically a meatbag already.


Robin: So, good kidnapping?
Zatanna: Actually, yeah. Best ever.
Robin: First of many, I hope.
Zatanna : If my dad doesn't ground me for life.
[Cut to the cave]
Zatara: SHE'S GROUNDED FOR LIFE! "They're good kids, Giovanni." "Don't worry, Giovanni." She's *never* joining this team!

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

And "Illuminati" is Latin for "Enlightened Ones", which ties in with "Light".
Todd Jensen

Antiyonder> Some of the Light's hierarchy does remind me of the Illuminati.
Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

Matthew> "The heroes come to the conclusion that some unseen group must be pulling the strings and organizing the worldwide activity of supervillains."

Wonder if maybe they ever did consult with Matt Bluestone:-).

Masterdramon> Yes I also follow MLP, but I did watch the 1st and 2nd Gen casually back in the day as well (they aired on the Disney Channel too), and I might even include them in my Tubithon.

And I follow the ahem, Mane tie in comic too. Though I've gotten some Omnibus collections like Legends of Magic, Friends Forever and the Movie Prequel, as well as the EG one specials.


MATTHEW - Yes, I'd forgotten the Adam West version; when I think of Batman, I'm more likely to think of the Kevin Conroy version. (Then again, he did make one piece of wordplay in "Batman Beyond", where he was explaining to Terry about a gang of playing card-themed thieves who choose their targets to match their theme. Terry's first clash with them was on board a yacht, and when he asks what the yacht had to do with playing cards, Bruce replies "It was part of a yacht club." TERRY: "Ouch.")
Todd Jensen

Thanks Todd.
"I can't imagine Batman engaging in wordplay himself, though."
(Thinks back to the Adam West series)
Well I certainly can.

One thing I forgot to mention is the bit of mystery involving three members of the Light. Unless you read the tie-in comics you might not have recognized Ocean Master, Queen Bee hadn't made a proper appearance yet and neither had Vandal Savage.

Vandal isn't one of the more well known villains so the average viewer might not know him on looks alone (and even when he dresses similarly he's usually depicted with a van Dyke).

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

MATTHEW - Thanks for the latest review.

I recall that episode slightly, including the revelation of the true identities of the Light at the end. And the Joker quote you mentioned about "that might not be a real word, so sue me!" I found that amusing, in light of Robin's frequent cases of playing around with words like "whelmed", since the Joker and Robin are probably the two best-known characters associated with Batman, though I don't know if the writers had that in mind. (I can't imagine Batman engaging in wordplay himself, though.)

Todd Jensen

Our villains come to light. Watched "Revelation" today which saddles the team with their most daunting mission yet. Up until now their missions have been, or rather have supposed to have been, low risk. Primarily meant for recon or to gather information like at Santa Prisca, Bialya or in India and then have them call in the Justice League; it's only because so many things have gone wrong that they've been forced into action. But now their primary mission is to take out the central control for the Kobra Venom and that will certainly put them in crosshairs of the Injustice League. It's not for nothing that Zatara asks Batman if he really knows what he's asking them to do.

This episode is the culmination of several plot threads that have been popping up here and there in the series so far: the development and use of Kobra Venom in different species, unconnected villains working together and who has been pulling the strings behind both of these conspiracies. One thing I like about the "revelation" of this episode is that the show is really playing with the pre-conceived expectations of the audience, Kaldur muses that after their mission in India the villains must've figured that they were too close to the truth and decided to reveal themselves and hold the world hostage. The presence of several superhero's archenemies like Black Adam, Wotan or the Joker can lead the audience to believe they were the ones in control the whole time. But a secret cabal suddenly blowing its cover for a doomsday plot is rather Saturday morning cartoonish to say the least, especially when not letting the heroes know what you're doing allows you more opportunities to continue your work. The fact that big names like the Joker are there doesn't mean that he's somehow part of the upper echelons, considering the Joker's history of not playing well with others, there's a reason for that. And while Ultra-Humanite, a partner to the Brain, can lend credence to the idea of the Injustice League being behind everything, there's one thing that's overlooked, the lack of League of Shadows representation. Recall that it was Sportsmaster, a member of the League of Shadows, who acted as the representative at the Santa Prisca deal and they had operatives working for the Brain and Ultra-Humanite at Gorilla City. And while the League does hire its services out to others, Ra's is like Macbeth in that he's been a leader for far too long to be subservient to anyone, least of all a couple of nutballs from Gotham.

The Injustice League make for dangerous opponents this episode, Count Vertigo may not have any combat skills but he makes for a good team leader and his Vertigo Waves affect human, alien, animal and Atlantean alike. Ultra-Humanite has already been shown to be able to match other superheroes in a fight, Poison Ivy can turn the very bayou against the heroes and I don't need to tell you how dangerous the Joker can be. Combine that with the fact that Artemis and Aqualad are missing their weapons and the overall power wielded by the villains well, this wasn't a fight the Team could win easily if at all. But this also demonstrates why following the mission is so important, because their mission wasn't about taking down the Injustice League but destroying the central antenna controlling the other plants, once accomplished it becomes a matter of survival until the big guns can arrive.

The final overlooked point also ties into the true reveal at the end of the episode and that's the true identities of the Light. The heroes come to the conclusion that some unseen group must be pulling the strings and organizing the worldwide activity of supervillains. In later episodes they talk about how even after taking down the Injustice League their minions still plot, never considering that the Injustice League themselves may have been minions as well. While the heroes may have been closing in on the truth the Light manages to outwit them by using proxies; it's rather ironic that the Light uses methods that make up the foundation of the Team itself. The main heroes draw the attention to themselves while the teens work covertly, here the minions draw the attention of the world while the true leaders scheme unseen.

Some Final Thoughts: To start with I have to bring up a controversial topic and that's the Joker or rather Brent Spiner's performance. For some time he was considered the worst animated Joker and some fans wondered why they couldn't bring back Mark Hamill or have John DiMaggio reprise the role like Bruce Greenwood did for Batman. My take? He's not the worst person to voice the character (that honor goes to Larry Storch from the Filmation era, and even then he's not a bad actor). In fact while rewatching Star Trek: Generations and watching the scene where Data's emotion chip malfunctions and he starts laughing maniacally until he completely breaks down, I realized this is a role he could've done quite well back in the day. But actors do age and sometimes they can't carry the same performance they used to.

Aqualad becomes the second member of the Team to wear the Helmet of Fate and it makes sense that they would keep the information of Plan B hidden from Wally considering how he blows up at the others afterward. It's a bit of a throwaway line here but Kaldur casually mentioning that Nabu almost didn't let him go will take a dark turn later. One thing I really liked about this episode was that it not only showed the Team fighting the good fight but other heroes, even ones not in the Justice League also pitching in like Blue Devil, Icon and Rocket. We get a few neat shoutouts with the Injustice League, besides using the name from the comics Batman also refers to them as a Secret Society of Supervillains and their headquarters also resemble the base used by the Legion of Doom in the Superfriends cartoon.

Fun fact: Maneuver Seven actually originates from the X-Men comics, it was later renamed into the more popular term "The Fastball Special." Surprisingly enough this is the episode where the overt hostilities between Artemis and Kid Flash ceases. Artemis was considerate enough to give him a rebreather and help patch up his arm after it was broken. And when Kid Flash tries to protect her from Count Vertigo he sounds more serious than anything else he's done in the series thus far. One last note: The plan here actually foreshadows the endgame of season 1. A genetically altered lifeform empowered by technology and sorcery and utilized by a being of chaos to control multiple scenarios at once, we'll see what happens then...

Acting MVP: Khary Payton and Kevin Michael Richardson play off each other so well as Dr. Fate it almost sounds like one voice coming from the character. But I really have to give special mention to Bruce Greenwood, his performance as Batman is exceptional but he's almost unrecognizable as Wotan.

DC Profiles: Atomic Skull is a frequent opponent of Superman, the incarnation here comes from the first person to take the identity. I like that rather than just make his whole head a skull they gave him a look that seems to combine the sickliness of radiation poisoning and emaciation to resemble a skull.
Wotan is one of the most frequent foes of Dr. Fate, first appearing back in the 40's. The character was originally a woman who studies of the black arts allowed her to control her own reincarnation, eventually becoming the sorcerer Wotan. In this version though he seems to be an immortal Viking whose name is derived from a variant of Odin. Interestingly a lot of his spell names were used by both the Archmage and Mysterio.

Favorite Lines:

Zatara: You realize what you're really asking them to do?
Batman: They're ready.
Wally: Ready? Ready for what? [Is punched in the arm by Artemis] Ow! Will you cut that out?!
Artemis: Hello Wally! If the big guns are fighting plants, who do you think we'll be fighting?
Wally: I don't know, I guess we'll---oooohhhh.

Count Vertigo: Stunning what a little teamwork can accomplish.

Miss Martian: Ugh.
Superboy: You alright?
Miss Martian: Dizzy.
Robin: Martian's get airsick?
Kid Flash: She does look a bit greener than usual.
Miss Martian: Not me. Her.
Artemis: I feel fine.
Miss Martian: Not her, the Bioship.

Artemis: No. No way I'm nearly drowning three missions in a row.

Kid Flash: Vertigo.
Count Vertigo: *Count* Vertigo to you peasant!

Artemis: Ugh. I feel naked. And not in a fun way.

Robin: Timber.
Joker: Children. Children foiled our plan? Inconceivable. Unacceptable! Retributionable!... That last one might not be a word, so sue me!

Wotan: I can defeat you and I will!
Zatara: Ekirts natoW nwod! Not tonight Wotan!

Vandal Savage: Impressive. The plant creatures have proven their usefulness as potential weapons. More importantly, the so-called heroes now believe our secret society has been revealed and crushed. With the Injustice League serving as our proxies, we are once again free to operate with impunity. And shadows... still conceal our Light.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

Antiyonder: Oh, I ship Diakko and Lumity like nopony's business. I think it was my abiding love for the former that caused me to "call" the latter literally halfway through Amity's debut episode...and so far I'm riding pretty high on my yuri track record. ;)

The first link I posted is in order of the scores I assigned each show...obviously, anything with a 10 or a 9, I recommend quite heavily. But let me know if anything else catches your fancy!

My primary mechanisms for watching are FUNimation Now and VRV streaming services, with smatterings of Netflix and Amazon for their exclusives. Hulu has a decent amount of anime (in the US at least), but very little that isn't available on a competing service for lower cost. FUNimation, Crunchyroll, and Hi-Dive (VRV bundles the latter two) give me just about everything I care about in any given season, though Netflix manages to snag the occasional hot commodity.

As does Toonami, which is one of the very, very few reasons I still hold onto cable...

Masterdramon - [kmc12009 at mymail dot pomona dot edu]
"Straighten up, and give me the life I deserve already! SPOIL ME WITH LUXURY, DARNNIT!!!" - Lady Aqua

Yeah I missed the boat on it when Babylon 5 was on Hulu (way back when the site was ad based and free), but I am going to be checking out the show this year. Even will follow it up with watching DS9 (liked what I saw of that series, but put that off too long as well).

Also going to check out more of the anime Dragon Quest Dai no Daibouken. Followed the DQ main series games since the first one due to Nintendo Power giving out free copies to each subscriber and back when that game was localized as Dragon Warrior.


Thanks for your post on "Babylon 5", Bishansky. I remember that series as well (I didn't see all the episodes, but several of them), and was sorry to learn about the passing of many of the actors. (I recall how I came to start watching it; one of the contributors to a Tolkien newsletter posted a review calling attention to some "Lord of the Rings"-evocative moments, especially the Shadows, which interested me enough that, when episodes started airing on a local syndicated station, I began watching them and enjoyed them.)
Todd Jensen

I just recently completed a Gargoyles re-watch, I try to do one every year. But I am also in the midst of a second Gargoyles re-watch with friends on Discord. Every week, D.Taina does an art stream, and usually, I play an episode or two of Gargoyles as "the pre-show". We just got through the Avalon Trilogy. I know there's at least one newbie on there.

I'm also doing a re-watch of "Babylon 5" since it just landed on HBO Max. I loved this show back in the day, it's been well over a decade since I last watched it... and since then I've been through film school; so I was terrified that the shoe-string budget Warner Bros gave them would hamper my enjoyment... thankfully it didn't; if anything I am seeing how it forced them to be more creative and I appreciate it even more. The series still thrills me, and I think it's become even more applicable to current times.

I doubt I would have re-watched it now (probably would have just added it to my list on HBO Max) had it not been for the untimely death of Mira Furlan, who played Ambassador Delenn... too many members of that cast have died way too young. So far we've lost Richard Biggs (Dr. Stephen Franklin), Andreas Katsulas (Ambassador G'Kar), Tim Choate (Zathras), Michael O'Hare (Commander Jeffrey Sinclair/SPOILERS), Jeff Conaway (Zack Allan), Jerry Doyle (Mr. Garibaldi), Stephen Furst (Vir Cotto)... and Mira Furlan as recently as January 20th.

But Mira... well, you know how Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia have in recent years become an icon for standing up to Fascism? Not to take away from Carrie, she helped create an icon and that's great. But Mira Furlan not only played a character who stood up to Fascism, but did it in real life when she lived and worked in Yugoslavia... she was a Croatian who married a Serb while the country was boiling and headed towards an ethnic civil war. She did humanitarian work for both sides while being branded a traitor... if you know anything about that region during that time, marrying a Serb was a major no-no. Eventually they fled to the United States, she landed the role of Delenn and J. Michael Straczynski worked a lot of her real life background into the character.

I've also been reading JMS's recently released autobiography and... my god. As someone who had a, ahem, less than ideal paternal figure growing up... this book is pushing a lot of buttons; but man, he had it far worse. His father, Charles, was a swastika wearing Nazi (he was a Nazi Youth, raised around members of the SS (his mom, JMS's grandmother hung out with, partied, and dated a lot of Nazis... and it's even implied that Charles participated in mass murder), his mother was a fourteen-year-old prostitute whom Charles brutally raped, married, and then repeatedly raped... Charles would often murder the family pets in front of the kids and that was just one of many forms of abuse.

I'm amazed JMS came out of that upbringing a functional human being.

Greg Bishansky
""When Demona wipes out humanity, I hope she starts with the Demona Apologists." (Saving them for last so they can grasp the truth is nice too, but too little too late.)" -Matt

Also a couple of purchases I finally made last year are the Ultimate Guide to the NES and SNES Library. Even then it took several months until I got the second book.

Masterdramon> I'll give a more thorough look at the list later, but I did catch that you viewed Little Witch Academia.

Cute and fun anime, plus even if not canon I took a liking to the idea of Akko/Diana. Partially why I took to Luz/Amity from The Owl House.

Also rewatching a bit of Yu-Gi-Oh on Tubi and plan to watch the rest of the available episodes of GX on the site as well.

So yeah if you haven't already check TubiTV. It has some known anime and like with other animation might have some unknown ones that may get your attention.


Surprising nobody who knows me decently, I'm a ginormous weeb and so the majority of what I'm watching at any given time tends to be anime.

If anyone's curious or interested in recommendations, I do have a My Anime List page where I rank and categorize everything I've seen to date. Because the only thing that can make anime better is sweet, sweet statistics.

Everything I've completed so far:

Everything I'm currently watching:

And the major stuff coming on the horizon I'm excited for:

Masterdramon - [kmc12009 at mymail dot pomona dot edu]
"Straighten up, and give me the life I deserve already! SPOIL ME WITH LUXURY, DARNNIT!!!" - Lady Aqua

Skysurfer Strike Force, wow I remember that. Ah the EXTREME era that was the 90's.

I forgot to mention I've been reading John Ridley's "The Other History of DC Comics" a miniseries where DC's history (and world history) is told from the perspective of non-white superheroes. It's an interesting read and once it's finished I plan on covering it on my blog.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

Forgot to finish that last bit, but besides rewatching old favorites on Disney Plus and of course Gargoyles I'm still looking to check out many stuff from the 2010s I missed. Already finished Gravity Falls, Elena of Avalon and thanks to Netflix Sofia the First. I'm thinking of Phineas & Ferb then next Big Hero 6. Also Future Avengers.


Matthew> Been busy with some games, but finishing up reading the Pokémon Adventures manga I got last year. Started getting them in the middle of the 2010s tehn finally caught up last year since I could have them delivered by Amazon as I tried to minimize comic store visits.

Just finishing up Volumes 7 and 8 of Sun and Moon, plus a 2 volume one called Pokémon Horizon Sun and Moon.

Also in between rewatching some old favorites on other streaming platforms (including Gargoyles, I'm looking to check out more of the cartoons on TubiTV (legal and free site that's ad based). Has several known stuff which I watched like the 1960s Batman cartoon by Filmation (first cartoon with Robin voiced by Casey Kasem, and Olan Soule as Batman). Even watched the Mr. T cartoon.

Finished up with a toon called Momo and am looking to watch through more of these other Tubi titles Skysurfer Strike Force, Tommy & Oscar, Eloise, Enchantimals, Mission: Odyssey, Tara Duncan, Momo, K4CE, Starcom, Ruby Gloom.

Last year on November I also finally watched the latter half of Adventure Time that I missed courtesy of Hulu (and again during January courtesy of the DVD set I got), and saw the HBO Max episodes.

Also plan to rewatch YJ to prepare for the new season.

But I'll


I just finished reading the first two books of a new children's mystery series called "Aggie Morton, Queen of Mystery". The title character is a sort of fictionalized version of Agatha Christie as a kid, and it contains several allusions to her work (she teams up with a Belgian boy her age who's a clear echo of Hercule Poirot, her grandmother is similarly a Miss Marple counterpart, and Aggie speculates a few times on story ideas that are clear references to many of Agatha Christie's works, such as [SPOILER] "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd", "Murder on the Orient Express", "The Mousetrap", and "And Then There Were None" [/SPOILER].
Todd Jensen

Before I start up the next Young Justice review I'd like to ask, what's everyone watching or reading these days?

Last year I've gotten really into the works of Vivienne "Vivziepop" Medrano and since then I've started looking for more independent animators.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.



"He's gone." -Adora


And lastly came old February, sitting
In an old wagon, for he could not ride;
Drawn of two fishes for the season fitting,
Which through the flood before did softly slide
And swim away; yet had he by his side
His plough and harness fit to till the ground,
And tools to prune the trees, before the pride
Of hasting Prime did make them burgeon round;
So passed the twelve months forth, and their due places found.

Edmund Spenser, "The Faerie Queene".

Todd Jensen

(#1) Number one with a bullet but always first over all!
Vinnie - [thomaspeano at yahoo dot com]
Deplorable and loving it!