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The Phoenix Gate

Comment Room Archive

Comments for the week ending March 14, 2021

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Masterdramon> Yep, enjoying Scrubs overall, though what helped my interest was also the Dr. Cox clips Linkara shows in Atop The Fourth Wall.

Now that's something that would be nice is if they had an official app where you could play a desired Cox rant with ease.


MASTERDRAMON AND MATTHEW - Thanks for the information about Robin revealing his true identity to Wally.

And, yes, that kind of hunter has been absent from "Gargoyles". The Pack had a touch of it when they began going after the gargoyles in "The Thrill of the Hunt", but it soon turned into revenge for their past defeats.

Orion from Greek mythology would make an ominous adversary for the gargoyles, given his boast that he could wipe out every beast from the face of the Earth (which prompted Gaea to send the giant scorpion after him to keep him from achieving that goal); he probably *would* misinterpret the gargoyles as mere beasts.

Todd Jensen

Thanks Todd, and the comic Masterdramon mentioned merely depicts Robin taking off his mask in front of Wally. So it was as simple as that.

Now Gargoyles doesn't have a shortage when it comes to hunter like figures, but their motivations are all based around their hatred of the Gargoyles. The Hunters have their centuries-long blood feud with Demona that's spilled over to the rest of the species. The Quarrymen are just bigoted against them. And the Pack are mercenaries who's original desire for the hunt devolved into petty revenge.

What we don't have is someone who hunts for the true thrill of it. Someone like Roland Tembo from "The Lost World" the Imakandi from Samurai Jack or even Kraven before he went all Island of Doctor Moreau. A figure who treats the predator/prey relationship with a sense of reverence would probably be a more neutral figure. Perhaps that Diana figure, or even Orion from myth.

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

Todd: We see the moment briefly in the "Face Your Fears" Free Comic Book Day issue, but as Greg puts it here:


"[It's] not that complicated. Dick told him."

Antiyonder: Scrubs is definitely probably my favorite sitcom of all time. Some of the seasons are less even than others, but the good stuff is just sooooooooo good.

As for Fruits Basket, I saw the original 2001 adaptation years after the fact (somewhere around 2015-2016), but didn't have any particular personal affection for either it or the manga. Thought it was fine, if a bit dull in spots and clearly suffering from a very tiny animation budget. Rated it 6/10 on MyAnimeList.

The 2019 remake, on the other hand, is absolutely stunning. An absolute tour-de-force of brilliant character drama and snappy comedy, undergirded by stellar animation and background work. Season 1 largely adapts the same material as the 2001 series, with a few bits of additional foreshadowing sprinkled in, and so didn't really send me as much purely because of the lack of surprises. Rated it 8/10 on MyAnimeList.

Season 2 is entirely fresh/never-before-adapted material and was just wonderful to follow weekly. Definitely one of my favorites in its season, now that I largely had no idea what was going to happen next (I've been spoiled on a couple bit points, i.e. who Tohru winds up with in the end or a couple major revelations about Akito, but not most of the nuts/bolts of it all). Rated it 9/10 on MyAnimeList.

Season 3's trailer dropped a couple days ago and I can't wait to see the conclusion play out later this year. I may not have been a Fruits Basket-stan "back in the day," but this remake definitely turned me into one.

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

Had some last minute changes to my planned marathoning.

Saw the recent version of the Fruits Basket anime on Hulu. Actually saw the original back at the end of the 2000s and read some of the later manga never finishing the whole series.

Also cause I've been wanting to check it out for a while and found it on Hulu, finally watching Scrubs.


MATTHEW - Thanks for another great review. This is another episode that I barely remember, but I thought you did a good job of analyzing it.

Did they ever explain (whether in the series, or the tie-in comics, how Wally came to know about Robin's civilian identity?

I was amused by the "War of the Worlds" reference you mentioned in the quotes section.

You brought up the appropriateness of Artemis's undercover name. That got me wondering about the possibility of an Artemis-figure (an analogy to the original Artemis of Greek mythology, not the "Young Justice" character) confronting the gargoyles, given the "hunting" theme in the series that I'd noticed during my 2019 review of the series. (I spotted an "Artemis/Diana"-like figure as an extra among the New Olympians.) Of course, such a character would need a distinct motive for going after the gargoyles that wouldn't feel like a mere duplicate of the Pack's or the Hunters'.

Todd Jensen

Karrin> Oh we'll get there soon enough.

Watched "Performance" today bringing us a rare Robin-centered episode. We saw that in "Fears" that deep down, Robin really wanted to open up and tell his teammates about his origin. His life in the circus, the loss of his family, Batman taking him in, even just sharing his name. But as we've also seen, Batman's forbidden him from revealing his secret identity to the others and the only one who actually knows is Wally. And this kind of isolation shows up rather subtly this episode, we see pretty clearly that while stopping Parasite's scheme is definitely something the Team would do, they start off because of very personal reasons for Robin. Reasons he doesn't share with his Team, reasons that may see him have to take down someone that's a close to family for him. There are moments when even when among the group he seems to stand alone, Conner and M'gann have their relationship, Artemis and Roy have their pre-established antagonism. And Robin? Well he's lying about why they're there in the first place. In a way it also shows how lonely it can be for the leader of the group, not being able to relax the way others can.

The other big part of the episode is Red Arrow abandoning all pretense and going full accusatory with the three most suspected of being moles. What's interesting is that a lot of his confrontational attitude is directed towards Artemis (who he has the most animosity with) and Superboy (who's not helping things with his growing dependence with Shields). But little towards M'gann who we've seen is under the thumb of the villains while the others are only implied. It's actually kinda interesting watching this in play, this kind of open hostility and distrust could very well start to split the Team apart like what happened in "Alpha Male" but here the characters have grown, matured. And while Artemis clearly spells it out that any of them would give up everything for the Team; and whatever Roy's suspicions, they've got a job to do.

And then there's the matter with Superboy and the aforementioned Shields. One thing that I like, and is noticed by the other characters, is the regression of how Conner adapted his fighting style. We've seen him change from the bruiser who rushed into every fight in a berserker rage to a calculating fighter who may not be as strong as Superman but who knows how to use his strength with martial precision. But he's gone back to his gung-ho ways, charging in recklessly and making more of mess every time he faces off with the Parasite. Heck he practically has to be slapped upside the head to look after his girlfriend after she's nearly caught in a fire. It was suggested that the Shields do more than just suppress his human DNA allowing him full access to his powers, but that they also had addictive properties to them. Which seems reasonable as we see his irises dilating and contracting every time he slaps one on. There's also the possibility that what Superboy is getting addicted to is the powers themselves, we see him taking full advantage of his x-ray vision multiple times and we'll later see him abuse those other powers too. I'd say that between the the way the Shields stimulate that rage combined with his long suppressed desire to "be Superman" has caused him to dread the moments when he has to go back to only being Superboy.

Some Final Thoughts: One little detail I liked is that in Bruges Jack starts the ceremony off speaking in German, then French, then English. The major languages of Belgium. Another one is Artemis' secret identity as Diane, referencing the Roman goddess associated with archery. Now that I think about it there's a lot of moon imagery associated with Artemis, including last episode when she and Green Arrow showed up silhouetted by the crescent moon. That little fake-out at the beginning of the episode was pretty effective considering they made it a point that Robin and M'gann were performing without a safety net. I liked Robin's reasoning for leaving Wally out of it, but I can't help wonder what roles the other team members would play while in the circus, especially considering Zatanna's love of performing.

The buildup to the reveal was pretty effective, playing with the idea that the whole circus was involved in the robberies with Haley as the ringleader. At the same time "Ray" was given a lot of close attention and the flu that seemed to follow him around. I actually didn't guess until we saw him transform because I'm so used to Parasite draining his victims dry, that the fact that he instead paces himself and only takes a bit at a time really surprised me. Oh and those posters for Titano the elephant? Titano was actually a gigantic, kryptonite-empowered ape fought by Superman. I like the poster art seen on the train too, as well as the image used for the Flying Graysons, seems we see the inspiration for Robin's new outfit come season 2...

Acting MVP: I actually keep forgetting that it's Stephen Root playing the role of Jack Haley, guy has a lot of versatility that he doesn't always get to show off. And Adam Baldwin is just great as Parasite, he's absolutely dripping with creep factor here and you can practically hear him salivating when he refers to his "meals."

DC Profiles: King Faraday is a secret agent from DC's espionage branch of comics. And yes, his name is a pun on "King for a day."
The Parasite is a long standing member of Superman's rogue gallery. Once just a simple lowlife, he was bombarded by biochemicals altering him into an inhuman, and very purple monstrosity with the power to drain life and mental facilities from others with just a touch. And the powers of any super too.

Favorite Lines:

Superboy: If Interpol's already on this, why are we bothering?
Robin: Because Batman said so. Why? You got something better to do?

Roy: There's a mole on this team. And good reasons to suspect all three of you. Both Artemis and Miss Martian have already been caught in lies. And you could be programmed by Cadmus without even knowing.
Conner: Or maybe I take your head off without even trying!
M'gann: Okay. Let's all take a time out before we all do something we regret.
Conner: Speak for yourself.
Artemis: None of us are perfect. But each of us would give our lives for this team. So try to keep an open mind.

Wally: Dude, where are you?
Robin: Confidential mission. From Batman.
Wally: Wow. You know what I'm doing? Making a baloney sandwich, kinda like you just did. I talked to Tornado. You guys are not on a mission. Not an official one anyway.
Robin: [sighs] A friend. Jack Haley.
Wally: The circus guy? From your old "Flying Grayson" days?
Robin: Yeah. He's implicated in this global crime spree. Someone in the show's dirt, but I need to prove old Jack's clean or he might lose the circus.
Wally: Then why not bring me along? I know your backstory. I know what that circus means to you. It's where you grew up. It's where you lost your-
Robin: I left you behind because you know my back story. I didn't want my best pal questioning my objectivity.
Wally: Dude, that's what a best pal's for.

M'gann: I feel so silly. Who knew a Martian could be vulnerable to a human virus?
Robin: Uh... H.G. Wells?

Miss Martian: What have you got against Geneva, anyway?
Parasite: Never liked the food. But the menu keeps improving.
Miss Martian: I'm just the appetizer, remember? [ducks under his arm kicks him down] Here's the main course!

Parasite: Foam? You think foam can hold me? Or stop me from crushing you with a thought? Combined Martian and Kryptonian powers here.
Robin: But do any of those powers free you before I sabotage your death thingy?

Miss Martian: Aww. Poor baby. Something you ate?

Artemis: Wow. He deigns to touch the hand of a suspected traitor.
Red Arrow: Mind open. I guess I never really saw you three in the thick of it before. Superboy's a hothead, but I know I'm not one to talk. You could've each betrayed us here...you didn't. I'm sorry I doubted any of you. There is no mole.

Haley: So, the show will go on and I have the feeling I have you dangers to thank.
Robin: Don't know what you mean.
Haley: No, of course not. But I'm guessing you'll be leaving now.
Robin: Uh, time to move on.
Haley: Well, Dick, I'll miss you.
Robin: It's Dan. Dan Danger.
Haley: Son, you've grown...but some things never change. Like the sight of a Grayson on the trapeze. You can't fake that. Can't hide it. So, do an old ringmaster one last favor?

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

Yeah, that conversation with Paula really does sting. For all the reasons you point out - Artemis feeling proud that two real-deal Leaguers took her seriously as both a new heroine and a person separate from her family history, how it reflects on Paula's pride - and, also, that Artemis now knows that her own mother didn't have enough trust in her, Artemis', integrity to think that she'd stay on the straight and narrow herself, of her own volition. No wonder she's feeling so insecure that it shows up in the title.

That aside, this takes on a certain sad irony after s3's Thanksgiving episode, doesn't it. Paula talks about how well the hero life suits Artemis, and then we end up with a situation where Artemis felt like she couldn't tell her that she's back on the Team. It really makes me wonder what's going to happen in s4, where they go from here.

Karrin Blue

Thanks Todd and yes, this is the episode where Wolf lays down on his job as guard dog.
The Zeta-Tubes and their origin will become important in season 2. I like that they're concealed in inconspicuous places around the world like the old phone booth in this episode or the broken photo booth Billy tried to use in "Misplaced."

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

Thanks for your latest review, Matthew.

I'm afraid I'd forgotten about the Artemis-and-her-family development that you focused on there. The main things I recall about the episode were the Spiderman allusion near the start, the scene with Klarion altering the alien starfish pieces (and the "getaway" scheme he used, turning himself and all the rest of his group to ice), and the teleportation entrance (I think it was called a Zoom Tube) that bore a striking resemblance to the TARDIS (which makes it amusing that Red Tornado's human identity bears the name "John Smith"). Was this also the episode where Wolf was supposed to be keeping watch for the team while they were up to something, but instead curled up and took a nap?

Todd Jensen

Well thanks Masterdramon, now I know what the Panopticon Effect is.

Anyway, watched "Insecurity" today which rounds out the potential mole trilogy as this focuses on Artemis and her ups and downs. What's interesting though is that this episode and "Homefront" basically put the kibosh on her being the potential mole, otherwise why else would Sportsmaster work to convince her to switch sides? What I liked about this episode was it really showed the joy and pride Artemis took in being a hero, how her excitable but at the same time pretty level-headed, much like Green Arrow. But this episode also covers what Black Canary alluded to, that she's too tough to think she needs help, I feel that while Wally may have been wrong in his reasoning for why she sent the others on a wild goose chase, but there might've been some elements of truth to it as well. She was insecure about Red Arrow joining the Team and she has felt the strong need to prove herself, especially since her family knows how to push all of her buttons.

An unintentional example would have to come from her mother and the fact that she begged Batman and Green Arrow to keep her on the straight and narrow. For starters we saw in the comics even before she joined the Team she was working her butt off fighting crime in Gotham and doesn't feel the need to have to prove that she's on the side of good even with her family relations. And another part of that could be from the fact that Paula lost the use of her legs and did her time in prison, she shouldn't have to beg the heroes for anything. Artemis may feel the fact that her mother begged diminishes her mother just as much as it does herself.

When it comes to Cheshire, it's obvious that Jade enjoys needling her sister over the fact that she holds the knowledge of her secret over her, and that really gets under Artemis' skin. Though I'd say as much as Cheshire enjoys trolling her little sister (and Red Arrow) she probably wouldn't betray her sister's trust directly to her friends. We did see that she backtracked over calling her by name in "Targets" and her response to being accused to working with Sportsmaster shows that even the League of Shadows assassin has points she's not happy about. Sportsmaster, well there's no obviously no love lost between father and daughter, he still knows how to get to her in his own way. By playing off her fears and insecurities; unlike Cheshire he clearly has no problem using his villainous background as way to get to her. In fact this episode shows he's certainly more than just the Light's attack dog, his last speech shows how insidious he can be.

Some Final Thoughts: I am a little surprised how Red Arrow managed to make the cut considering his hostile attitude towards the League. My guess is his mostly unseen solo work must've made a pretty good impression (including his work in Taipei) and as this episode and "Revelation" have shown, he is capable of setting aside his pride and teaming up. I'd say his joining the Team was one last test to make sure he could work with others. Plus, Aquaman was the only one most vocal about his exclusion, probably because he's not used to being talked back to.

I like the little shout-out to Spectacular Spider-Man in the opener. The action of this episode is pretty great and demonstrates how the heroes have progressed, Wally was nearly killed the first time they faced Cheshire and here was able to take her by surprise, twice. And Red Arrow, who was knocked around when facing Sportsmaster, now can match him. We get to see what the Light's scheme was involving the starfish as it's combined with the Fog and Klarion's sorcery. And I have to point out that Klarion, the most immature and scatterbrained member of the Light has a moment of clarity and prevents Ivo from spilling the beans.

We also get to see what Red Tornado has been up to. I guess he inherited the whole "hide your secret project beneath a sheet for dramatic reveals" from his creator T. O. Morrow. I like that his holiday decorations include a Kinara, a Christmas tree and a Hanukkah menorah, I'd say that he's just including them in an effort to be inclusive in his festivities, but I also like to think he's doing it to remember his father who is Jewish.

Acting MVP: Jason Spisak really shows a lot of depth here, when he tries to reaffirm Artemis on the Bioship. You can tell he's become aware of the fact that he has a bad habit of sticking his foot in his mouth and is really making the effort not to when he compliments her. It's sad that we've seen the growth of their relationship since they began bickering at each other to an unintended attraction, back to bickering and finally smoothing things out and relying on each other. And that accusation and disappointment ends up cutting her deeper than she could've expected.
But the true stars have to be the Crock family, Stephanie Lemelin, Kelly Hu and Nick Chinlund. Kelly does a great job playing both mother and daughter and hearing Cheshire's disgust and panic at being accused of working with Sportsmaster really lets her show some dramatic skills. Nick Chinlund's no stranger to playing villainous henchmen (some more intimidating than others) and his last bit of dialogue lets him demonstrate how intimidating he can be.

DC Profiles: The Crock family (Lawrence, Paula and Artemis) are a veteran villain family and long time foes of the Justice Society of America. Interestingly, Paula, under the name Tigress, was originally a hero before switching sides wherein she changed it to Huntress and thus bore the title before the more popular heroines adopted it.

Favorite Lines:

Klarion: This isn't T. O. Morrow!
Sportsmaster: Klarion, this is Professor Ivo.
Klarion: I didn't order this! Send it back!
Teekl: Mreow!
Klarion: Morrow's in a coma? Did I already know that?
Ivo: Morrow's skills have been in a coma since the 1940's. But I won't stay where I'm not wanted.
Klarion: Don't get pouty, I invented pouty.

Wally: Uh, this could wind up being one of those things that sounds better in my head than out loud, but you *are* a real archer. [Artemis just glares] No! I mean I'm jazzed about Red Arrow. Uh, we go way back, you know? But you. You've made your own place on the Team. You have nothing to prove. Well, not to me.
Artemis: Okay. And Wally? It sounded fine out loud.

Cheshire: Bet you run out of arrows before I run out of sword. Unless you plan on breaking out the pointy ones, to use against your own sister
Artemis: Why shouldn't I? You are working with Sportsmaster!
Cheshire: Not my choice! Not my call!
Artemis: Then who's call is it?
Cheshire: Sorry. Just because I know your secrets doesn't mean I tell you mine.
[Red Arrow's net arrow pins her against a tree]
Cheshire: Why, Arrow If you wanted another date, you only had to ask.
Artemis Crock: You two are DATING?!
Red Arrow: What? No!

Cheshire: Too bad lover boy. [She leans and kisses Red Arrow earning a shocked look from Artemis] But at least a kiss is still a kiss.
Wally: And a sai is just a sai. And quite the souvenir, by the way.

Red Arrow: So you're pretty much allergic to radioing a warning?
Artemis: [flatly] Artemis to Arrow: look out.

Conner: Alright, what's with the new bot?
Red Tornado: *I* am a robot. *This* is an android. It will serve as my alter ego, John Smith. And allow me to download my consciousness, so that I may walk among humans. Interact. And learn.
M'gann: I think it's a wonderful idea.
Red Tornado: Your approval is appreciated. But your presence is uninvited. Is this a sign of disrespect?
M'gann: Uh, curiosity!
Conner: Boredom.

Kid Flash: Aqualad and I found the tracer on a caboose. And I don't mean Cheshire's.

Sportsmaster: Shh. We wouldn't want to upset your mother.
Artemis: What are you doing here?!
Sportsmaster: Just curious to hear how your little team took their defeat. Blamed you, didn't they? Will they keep you around now that Red Arrow's joined up? And what if they learn the truth about the family ties you've worked so hard to hide? Would they ever trust you again?
Artemis: Thanks for the pep talk, dad. We should have these family reunions more often.
Sportsmaster: You tried, baby girl. You can fight Jade. You can fight me. But you can't fight who. You. Are. Time to switch sides, Artemis. You'll never be one of them. You belong with us.

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

The Dollars, the Yellow Scarves, and the Saika Army!

Matthew: I find it best to treat the Wise Man's forays into the Comment Room as a sort of Panopticon Effect - you never know when he is watching, so in effect, he is always watching. ;)

...What do you mean that doesn't help

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

MATTHEW - I wouldn't worry about it too much; you indicated that the inaccuracies were due to the closed-captioning getting it wrong. (Which closed-captioning often does, I've noticed; I recall the closed-captioning for "Upgrade" mentioning "the Archmajor's sorcery", for example.) That's a big difference from analysis of the themes, characterization, etc.

A parallel between Demona and Jon Canmore I recently noticed, and thought I'd mention here. In "Re-Awakening", Demona tells Goliath that his clan was "smashed to pieces by the humans you trusted". Of course, her description is inaccurate; it was the Vikings, an outside enemy, who carried out the Wyvern Massacre, not the humans of Castle Wyvern, and Demona obviously knows that. In "Hunter's Moon Part Three", in the big confrontation in St. Damien's Cathedral, Jon Canmore, while arguing with Jason about the need to keep up the Hunt, says about Goliath and his clan "They killed dad". Of course, it wasn't the Manhattan clan who killed Charles Canmore (they were still trapped under the Magus's spell at the time), but Demona, and Jon knows that, since he was there and saw it.

Both Demona and Jon blame members of the species they hate for events which they know, elsewhere, those members were not responsible for, as part of their accusation of the entire species and justification of their war on it. I don't know if Jon's line was intended as an echo of Demona's line back in "Re-Awakening" or if it's just a coincidence that the production team hadn't thought of, but I think it's an effective touch.

Todd Jensen

So Greg popping in to correct me on the "Hello Megan!" theme song now has me wondering. Has he been reading the other episode reviews and just mutters, "That Matt kid has everything wrong. How embarrassing."

This is something that's given me pause.

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