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The Phoenix Gate

Comment Room Archive

Comments for the week ending February 14, 2021

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Sorry for the double post, but happy Valentine's Day!
Todd Jensen

I have to wonder whether a comment room dedicated to an animated series where the Illuminati were among the antagonists is the best place to recruit new members for the Illuminati.
Todd Jensen

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Noah Draven - [magnusjr6655 at gmail dot com]

Thanks Todd.

I don't recall if there was ever a story about how Black Canary first discovered her trademark Canary Cry but the story about her nearly deafening her First Grade class is an interesting take. Partly because it's very X-Men like in execution and also because what we know about the Meta-Gene is that it usually triggers during moments of stress or trauma. Which does make me wonder how hers triggered in the first place.

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

Thanks for the latest review, Matthew. I remember this episode as well (the part that probably lingered with me most was the initially comical session with Wally, where he's lying back comfortably on the couch, eating popcorn and being utterly nonchalant about it all - until Black Canary asks him about his response to Artemis's "death"). I agree with you that the therapy scenes were well-handled, and that it was a great touch to have an episode dealing with the effect that the previous episode's events had had on the team.

One quote that stood out to me was Black Canary mentioning that the first time she used her powers, she almost deafened her first grade class. If I'm correct about her being in first grade herself when it happened - the thought of having to deal with something like that at that age is definitely disturbing.

Todd Jensen

Learning to pick up the pieces. Watched "Disordered" today which follows the disaster (heavy on the dis) that was "Failsafe." The episode picks up one week after the training simulation and the Team is still in a bad place. I actually like the dig at Batman at the beginning of the episode, it feels like the writers were calling out the fans who treat Batman's trauma as some kind of superpower, when it's exactly that, trauma. Let's be honest, there's a huge stigma against therapy in the modern world and even taking away the perception of weakness for seeking therapy many people just don't like the notion of opening up to complete strangers. But it's far worse in comics, I wasn't joking when I said that it's kind of a cliché that psychologists in comics are portrayed as evil. In fact you'd be better off counting the ones who aren't versus the ones who are. But that's why this episode is so refreshing.

Artemis' session isn't so much about the fact that her death was the catalyst for everything going out of control (and I have to give the episode credit for not blaming her for that) but rather the caginess that keeps popping up. She gets REALLY defensive REALLY fast when Canary lets slip that she knows that Artemis is keeping secrets from her team and while Canary doesn't pressure her into revealing those secrets to her friends she does rather subtly deconstruct Artemis' too tough to need help attitude. As well as have her confront the fact that despite her early animosity, Artemis has grown to care about Wally, or at the very least care about his opinion of her.

Kaldur laments the fact that despite being leader of the team he sacrificed himself and subsequently left his team adrift. Now this ultimately turned out to be the right idea as sacrificing himself for J'onn allowed him to save the others but the the dichotomy Kaldur constantly faces: loyal servant of his King, and yet leader to a team of heroes has caught up with him. He may actually be the most open of all the heroes as well as the most mature which is why Canary simply lets him come to the conclusion on his own rather than lecture him. Though I like that she still reminds him that he's just as young as the rest of the team, a good reminder that even as leader he's still entitled to his youth.

Wally on the other hand continues with his problem of denial, the same problem he's struggled with since early on in the season. This isn't really resolved at all this episode but I do have to bring up the fact that Wally just admitting to the fact is something of an improvement, and first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. On the other hand is M'Gann who's harboring the lion's share of issues, even if they're not all revealed just yet. She not only has to deal with the trauma of the fact that she nearly destroyed her closest friends' minds but with her own deeply buried secret (which we'll get to). Canary not only offers her the encouragement she needs about not denying one's self using her own life as an example. It's interesting to think that this little session would help M'Gann choose her own career come season 3.

We see with Robin the cracks starting to form, he outright admits to being traumatized over the fact that he sent his team to their deaths after he took over. Pretty much admitting that he sent Superboy out as a sacrificial lamb and his own bombs were programmed without enough time to get himself and Kid Flash to safety. We've seen that he's forbidden from revealing his secret identity by Batman and Wally only knows because Dick revealed it. But as we've seen in "Fears" he desperately wanted to tell the others about his origin, and his loss. There's something darkly ironic about Robin stating that he doesn't want to be like Batman and yet the restrictions placed on him, closing himself off from others on a personal basis have a way of shaping him to be like Batman. But this will be further explored in the following seasons...

And finally there's Superboy, who probably wouldn't be opening up if the events of the episode hadn't occurred. Despite his initial storming off, his adventure with the Forever People really show off the progress he's made in the series. His ability to fight smart and strategize and the bonds he's developed with Wolf and Sphere. At the same time we see the deeper parts of his programming as he confesses to Canary that despite everything going on in the simulation he felt at peace when the world saw him as Superman. And yet, his outburst at the end shows a stark contrast to the fantasy he once imagined back in "Fears." He values the bond he made with Sphere enough to fight to keep her and he values the companionship of his friends enough to feel guilty over the fact that their deaths didn't disturb him.

Some Final Thoughts: One thing I noticed was that Sphere tended to hang around Conner while he was working on his bike, knowing that New Genesis technology are living beings I like to think that she ultimately transforming into a form that she assumed Conner would like. Plus the expression he and Wolf share when she transforms is just hilarious. So this episode came up a bit during the publication of DC's crossover event "Heroes in Crisis" a comic that also attempted to tackle heroes attending therapy, though "attempted" may be too kind of a word. The comic itself is basically the product of Tom King's sloppiest writing and former DC editor Dan Didido's personal hatred of certain characters all rolled into one. After release it was called poorly thought out at best and insultingly harmful at worst and plenty of people brought up this episode as an example of how to cover therapy in comics.

Acting MVP: Bill Fagerbakke really nails Bear as a big, boisterous bruiser and Dee Bradley Baker gave a Desaad a suitably creepy voice to go with his appearance. But Vanessa Marshall does wonderfully playing the role of councilor and the main cast has to carry over the same emotional rollercoaster from the last episode and they did so beautifully here.

DC Profiles: The Forever People come from Jack Kirby's Fourth World series. Comprising of Vykin the Black, Big Bear, Beautiful Dreamer, Mark Moonrider and Seriphan they fight the forces of Apokolips. I rather like the Tron-like design they were given here, definitely better than the Flower Child look of their origin. Infinity-Man from the comics wasn't someone they transformed into like Voltron or a Megazord but rather a separate person they summoned, like Captain Planet. Interestingly he's the elder brother of the New God Uxas, we'll get to him later.

Desaad is pretty much exactly how Dreamer described him, a loathsome toady who gets his kicks from torture and experimentation. Fun fact: In both the Superfriends and Justice League cartoons he was voiced by René Auberjonois. And while he was immensely talented I never thought his voice fit the character.

Favorite Lines:

Batman: How are they?
Martian Manhunter: *I* am still shaken by what you and I have wrought. One can only imagine what these youths fair.
Batman: I know our virtual reality training simulation went badly, but I’d hoped the team would've rallied by now.
Martian Manhunter: [cocks an eyebrow at that] Trauma tends to linger, as I know you know, my friend.

Artemis: Look, me dying during the exercise might have started things going south but I was coma-girl. Missed out on all the fun of forgetting it wasn't real. So no trauma. No need for the shrink-rap.
Black Canary: You're too tough to need help.
Artemis: Whatever. Maybe.
Black Canary: Or maybe too tough to admit you need help. Artemis, it's not a sign of weakness to open up to your friends.
Artemis: [grumbling] I know that.
Black Canary: But you still keep secrets from them.
Artemis: YOU won't tell them! You can't!
Black Canary: I won't. But you should. You could start by admitting you're not really Green Arrow’s niece.
Artemis: “Right. Can you imagine what Wally would do with that?
Black Canary: Interesting. So the person you're most worried about is Wally.

Vykin: Return the New-Genisphere and the rest of the technology you have stolen from New Genesis, human.
Superboy: Who are you? What are you-
Bear: Let's keep this simple. That, belongs to us. Give it back!
[Sphere and the Mother Box communicate with each other]
Vykin: Forever People, stand down. This one did not steal the New-Genisphere. He saved it from the real thieves!
Bear:...Apologies! The Forever People embrace you as a friend, ally, and worthy warrior.
Superboy: You're kidding, right?

Kaldur: I was a general, but behaved like a soldier, and sacrificed myself. I am not fit for command, and resign as team leader.
Black Canary: Who do you recommend to take your place?
Kaldur: Artemis is too raw and untrusting. Kid Flash - too rash and impulsive. Miss Martian remains too eager to please. Superboy carries too much anger.
Black Canary: Making Robin the logical choice.
Kaldur: But he is too young.
Black Canary: Kaldur, you're all young.
Kaldur: I cannot shake this burden to him - not yet. It appears I must withdraw my resignation.

"Norman's Mom": Norman! I brought you a jacket.
Norman: Mom?! Wha-What're you doing here?
[two other guards are taken out by Moonrider]
Norman: Get down Ma! It's not [Norman's Mom is revealed to be Dreamer] -safe?

Black Canary: So, you want me to believe that after everything you went through, including your own death from fiery explosion, you're peachy?
Wally: I'm, uh, fairly certain I never used the word peachy. But, I think you got the gist.
Black Canary: So you really have no interest in confronting your extreme reaction to Artemis' death?
Wally: [Chokes on the popcorn he's eating] ... I'd uh, rather talk about you, babe.
Black Canary: Wally, you're in denial.
Wally: ...I'm comfortable with that.

Vykin: Fear not. She will protect us.
Superboy: Who, Dreamer?
Vykin: The new Genisphere.
Superboy: Cool. Wait. Sphere's a she?

Superboy: Look, I've been remarkably patient, you know, for me. *What* is going on?
Dreamer: The new gods come from two worlds at war. Those of us from New Genesis are gods of life, freedom, and the Source. Our enemies from Apokolips are gods of anti-life, slavery, and degradation. This is Desaad, god-scientist and chief torturer of Apokolips. His experiments are pure evil; his works, abominations. His master...
Desaad: Unspeeaakable. Heh heh heh Ha Ha!
Whisper: ...He is seriously creepy.

Robin: Hurting? Try traumatized. I finally become leader and wind up sending all my friends to their deaths. I-I know I did what I had to do, but I hated it. When we first started this team, I was desperate to be in charge - not anymore. And - and that's not even the worst of it... You can't tell Batman.
Black Canary: Nothing leaves this room.
Robin: I always wanted - expected - to grow up and-and become him. And the hero bit, I'm still all in. But that thing inside of him, that thing that drives him to sacrifice everything for the sake of his mission, that's not me. I don't want to be *the* Batman - anymore.

Desaad: Kill the boy, and his little dog too.

Superboy: Good uh, girl, We'll take him down together.[Sphere rolls away] Yeah, can't really blame you.

M'gann: It was all my fault. Hello Megan. Who else could take a simple exercise and turn it into a nightmare that terrorizes everyone she cares about?
Black Canary: You've, turned white.
M'gann: NO!... Oh, you meant Caucasian. Yeah, I'm fine being Megan, but I can't be trusted to use my other powers.
Black Canary: M'gann, you're a Martian. Not using your natural abilities is like me refusing to speak. Which, by the way, I tried for a while after my very first Canary Cry. Nearly deafened my entire First Grade class. So I get how you feel. But not being yourself is never the answer. And it won't make your feelings of guilt go away. Learn from what happened. You uncle would be happy to train you. Practice until you have more control, and regain your confidence.

Serifan: Why should we leave her with you? To us she lives. To *you*, she's merely technology.
Superboy: No! It's not like that!
Big Bear: Then what is it like?
Vykin: ...In fact, it is. You may keep her.

Conner: Here's the ugly truth. I wasn't devastated. Even when Superman, Tornado, you: the whole League dead. Even though I didn't save Wolf, watched Artemis and Kaldur die. Abandoned M'gann. I felt - at peace. You see from the moment I first opened my eyes in that Cadmus pod, There's been one more thing that I've wanted and feared. To know what is to be Superman. And I know. So I was - I was happy. Everyone I care about dead or traumatized, and I'm happy. How do I get past the guilt of that? How do I live with myself?
Black Canary: I don't have any easy answers Conner. But one thing's clear, admitting it is the first step.

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

ANTIYONDER - [Preferring revival of TSSM is one thing, telling someone to forget the other not so much.]

Maybe he thought that there'd be more hope of reviving "The Spectacular Spiderman" if they focused entirely on that, while spending some time on trying to bring back "Gargoyles" as well would weaken the effort.

Todd Jensen

Alex> Disappointing enough the twtter post was directed towards Weisman: https://twitter.com/Mert_m19/status/1359545233080524806

So not just reposting his bit in the CR, but telling Greg W to forget about something he had a hand in creating. So yeah dick move.


Sorry, but - once again - the Station 8 comment room and "Ask Greg" are separate entities (if sharing the same overall host). And "Ask Greg" isn't currently accepting new questions anyway.
Todd Jensen

Hi Greg,
I just wanted to know if Beast Boy sees Martian Manhunter as an uncle/father figure, and if Manhunter sees Beast Boy as a nephew.

Manny - [mannyobiesie at gmail dot com]

Not sure who made the initial tweet but I had heard that Save Spectacular Spider-Man had been trending in the UK a few days ago.
Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

Yeah that's rude. But I meant I dunno who Mert is responding to. Who tweeted about Gargoyles?
Alex (Aldrius)

Dang autocorrect.

I meant to say "Mert, BTW, is the one who posted without a pic and in light green text"


Meet, BTW, is the one who posted without a pic and in light green text.

Alex> I'm referring to this part of the comment:

"instead of telling fans to tweet out #KeepBringingGargoyles"

Preferring revival of TSSM is one thing, telling someone to forget the other not so much.


I'm not actually sure what or who that's in response to? I assumed Greg had tweeted something, but he hadn't. I mean honestly, there's nothing really wrong with preferring a show or whatever, but there's no reason not to tweet or support both. To my eye, Greg has sort of discouraged Spectacular Spider-man fan petition things because I think he doesn't want to get people's hopes up because there's really NO chance for the series to return.

I guess, I'm really still not sure what that's even in reference to.

Alex (Aldrius)

Mert> So if someone on a Spider-Man forum said Screw TSSM and focus on Gargoyles would you feel inclined to listen to what they request?

instead of telling fans to tweet out #KeepBringingGargoyles Why not tell fans to tweet out
#SaveSpectacularSpiderMan ? i know it's harder especially with the legal rights and i apologize for mentioning it to you but i personally want this show back

mert - [mertmustafa661 at gmail dot com]

(I meant Cinquieme, d'oh)

Incidentally, I'm not sure if it's on American Netflix, but on Canadian Netflix Spectacular Spider-man is available if anyone wanted a place to rewatch it and doesn't have it on DVD or whatever. Not sure when it was added.

Failsafe is an episode I have VERY mixed feelings about. I kinda like the brutality of it, I LOVE the follow up to this with the Black Canary scenes in the next episode, but as a piece of half hour entertainment, it feels a *little* self-indulgent. And I don't really begrudge anyone their self-indulgence but it doesn't do a whole lot for me. The best stuff is the character beats and the way the characters reflect on them. Superboy gets to be a hero, Robin gets to be in charge, etc. etc. It's great stuff and really pulls them into new directions from the takes in say, Batman: TAS or Justice League.

This is where I think we really started to see how distinctly different this version of Robin is from other popular versions in animation. Probably more so in the next episode.

Sort of... convinced myself I liked the episode more than I initially thought I did there.

Alex (Aldrius)

Thanks Todd. DC is a little inconsistent with the placement of some of their fictional cities but Central City has mostly been depicted as being part of Missouri. Interestingly when Wally became the Flash his city of Keystone was seen as a part of Kansas and the two cities were supposed to be pretty close to each other with the Missouri River separating the two.
Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

Thanks for your latest review, Matthew.

This is one of those episodes that I do remember fairly well, though not a lot of the details - just enough to know that it was the "Young Justice" counterpart to "Future Tense" (though with a different reason for the illusion, which I thought you did an effective job of analyzing). One detail that did stand out to me was that one of the DC-fictional cities (I think it was Central City) had a landmark that bore a striking resemblance to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis (the main difference was that it had some "support arches" at its base); that stood out to me since when I saw this episode on DVD, I was living in St. Louis. I recall it making a second appearance in the second season, where it was destroyed.

Todd Jensen

And then there were none...
Watched "Failsafe" today which I think was probably the big turning point for the show, and the funny thing is that before this the show was doing things others before had done. Ongoing arc against a shadowy cabal? Justice League had an entire season mostly dedicated to that. Nightmarish scenario where the heroes are picked off one by one? Gargoyles had done that. Twist at the end where it turns out to be all an illusion? Practically a cliché on its own. No what carries this episode is just how the episode treats everything so seriously; the music, the sound cues, the acting, dear God the acting. All of it meant to enhance the terror and growing hopelessness of the episode. But ultimately what this and the subsequent episode do that other series didn't really pull off is just how damaging this kind of plots can be to the characters.

The scenario where no matter what you do somethings will always get worse is an old one, I can't remember the literary term for it but it's best known by the Star Trek simulation "The Kobayashi Maru." While the average audience member isn't going to believe that any DC property is going to kill off Superman and Batman within the first minute, the way each death goes about does feel right within the context of the show. It was established early on that the Justice League is meant to handle the obvious threats so the fact that their heaviest hitters are taken out rather quickly does make sense. Meanwhile the Team is trained in covert, less direct tactics so they're taken out one at a time as the no-win scenario gradually wears them down over time.

One thing that really helped sell the idea that this training simulation was real came from the reactions of the team as each one of them fell. The shock, sorrow and fury to come from Artemis' "death" comes off as so genuine that you may even forget the initial disbelief when the Justice League was wiped out. Wally's anger turned to desperately trying to find some justification for her survival, Kaldur stoic but obviously wanting some form of avengement (look what he did to the ship that killed her), Robin trying to remain professional even when it's obvious that he's hurting and M'Gann who wears her emotions on her sleeve. Well, ironically enough she's the most human of them all. M'gann's subconscious may have made the rest of the team forget it wasn't real, but these are still young, emotional heroes and I have no doubt their shock and grief helped carry on the illusion.

It's rather appropriate that Martian Manhunter refers to M'Gann's hijacking as a "deathgrip." Because those feelings of fear, panic or raw emotion can summon up strength the victim may not know they had, and as unfortunately observed in real life with drowning victims, the sheer terror they experience can unknowingly doom their would-be rescuers along with themselves. There's something truly dark about the revelation that she has the most powerful telepathic mind J'onn has ever encountered, even setting aside the fact that Martian Manhunter is usually depicted as the most powerful telepath in the DC universe. In most stories where a character receives a power up or summons up hidden or unknown strength it's to save their friends or loved ones or to match a seemingly unbeatable enemy (Shonen anime is guilty of this a lot) but here things are different. Her sudden power is depicted with a foreboding tone and the first showing of this nearly kills all of her friends, it's a moment of guilt and trauma not glory and triumph. It's no wonder that she breaks down at the end of the episode.

Some Final Thoughts: I kinda like how you can pinpoint the moment M'Gann hijacks the simulation, the broken scream she gives off a very distorted moment even if just for a second. I like that the "aliens" themselves don't really resemble any aliens in the DC, J'onn probably made sure of that as he wouldn't want to risk offending any existing species by using them as fodder for the team to combat. I also like the little hints sprinkled in like Wally's arm being magically healed or the disconnect the Team has even as their mentors are wiped out. Before everything went wrong, I liked the tactic the Team had. Target a lone ship, acquire it's technology and use it alongside Earth's against the invaders.

Acting MVP: I can't give it to one or even two people. EVERYONE totally knocked it out of the park this episode. I do have to bring up Masasa Moyo's brief appearance as Cat Grant. She normally plays the character as, well not flippant but with a certain detachment that some might confuse as a little air-headed. But her screaming desperately to Iris West-Allen is pretty shocking. And Kevin Michael Richardson's last lines never fail to give me chills.

DC Profiles: Martian Manhunter is an odd duck, despite being a founding member of the Justice League, he's never really had a chance to shine the way other members have. Not given the godhood status Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman nor treated as a joke like Aquaman. His solo adventures never really came to prominence so he's just sort of existed. Fun fact: during the Silver Age he like Superman and Wonder Woman were often given new superpowers for no reason other than plot convenience. It was only towards the Justice League cartoon where they settled on focusing on his shapeshifting and psychic abilities.

Favorite Lines:

Aqualad: We stand ready.

Aqualad: We are Earth's heroes now.
Superboy: So what are we waiting for? A theme song?

Iris: As you can see, the Justice League is attempting to hold the line-
[an explosion takes out Flash, Zatara and the civilians they were attempting to save]
Iris: no...
Cat: IRIS! IRIS! Get out of there! [transmission is lost as a ship swoops down on Iris]...I'm sorry, we're experiencing technical difficulties from our Central City feed.

Kid Flash: THEY'RE DEAD! Every single alien! If it's the last thing I do!

Jason Bard: See? It is Superman. I told you he wouldn't leave us here alone.
David Reid: I dunno, he looks kinda young. Where's the cape?
Superboy: I'm not Superman.
Eiling: I don't know who you are, son, and I don't care. But you wear the S, and you got the job done.
Superboy: [softly] I'm not Superman.

Robin: Superboy, you'll create a distraction.
Miss Martian: NO! He's offering you as a sacrifice. Aqualad would *never* do that.
Robin: You're right. Aqualad would sacrifice himself. A mistake that just cost us our leader. Superboy is the most likely to be perceived as a threat. Motivating the aliens to deploy.
Kid Flash: Worst case - he's teleported inside and we set him free along with Artemis - and, uh, Aqualad, and everyone.
Superboy: [Telepathically to M'Gann] It's okay, M'Gann. It's what Superman would do.

Miss Martian: And though we know all seems lost, the one thing the aliens cannot destroy is hope.
Superboy: Hope survives because the battle is not over, not as long as even one of us is willing to fight.
Kid Flash: It doesn't matter how many fall, for new heroes will always rise to carry on, bringing all their resources, their skills, their talents to bear to defeat the enemy.
Robin: The people of Earth will survive this. We will rebuild and we will thrive. Never doubt and never forget, the Earth will never surrender!


Miss Martian: Don't… Don't tell me the mission was a success. The price was too high.
[a second Mothership descends on the smoldering ruin of the first one, this one even larger]
Miss Martian: no no No, No. We have to get out of here now!
Martian Manhunter: No. We have to *end this now*!
[Martian Manhunter punches his niece through the heart]

Conner: This isn't her fault! Why didn't you stop the exercise?!
Martian Manhunter: We *tried* But M'gann had a...death grip on the scenario. Even Artemis, who should have awakened upon her death was so convinced she had passed, she slipped into a coma. I realized I would have to wrest control from Miss Martian's subconscious from within. But upon entering the reality I was overwhelmed by your collective emotion. There was too much...noise to think clearly to remember why I was there. The deaths of Aqualad and Superboy helped. But only when the mothership exploded, and Robin and Kid Flash were silenced did my mind clear enough to remember my true purpose. To shock M'gann out of the exercise before your comas became permanent. My apologies. I had no idea a training exercise could be so dangerous...so damaging.

[Martian Manhunter turns to leave but stumbles requiring Batman and Red Tornado to help him]

Batman: As bad as all that?
Martian Manhunter: Perhaps worse.
Martian Manhunter: Make no mistake. My niece is untrained and cannot be held responsible for this - for our debacle.
Batman: No one blames her. But clearly we underestimated her abilities.
Martian Manhunter: You understate it. In terms of raw power, she has the strongest telepathic mind I have *ever* encountered. [the camera pans to M'Gann, sobbing in the arms of Captain Marvel]...Stronger by far than mine.

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

Alex (Aldrius)

"He's gone." -Adora

Karrin Blue

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

Todd Jensen