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The Phoenix Gate

Comment Room Archive

Comments for the week ending June 6, 2021

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Oh yeah, I forgot that's how the Warworld-break went... I wonder if, now that he's back on the Team in s4, Roy will have grown up in the intervening 4 years, or if he'll still more or less be causing problems constantly that, sometimes, resolve previous problems.

I'd have loved to see hints of the Team investigating how to save Blue - the beetle temple foreshadowing is good and all, but if they'd had more episodes to seed hints in... ah well.

I do wonder if we'll see La'gann in a more surface-side role again in s4 - a member of the Justice League (he'd be 21-ish by then, which seems to be the unofficial minimum age they went with after Red Arrow), or maybe working on some kind of Atlantean collaboration project with surface people. Honestly, I'm more neutral on him than anything else, but it would be good to at least get a mention of him doing well and getting to be on the surface as himself.

Karrin Blue

Thanks Todd, next week sees the end of season 2.
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Yeah meant to type Amphibia.

And on the vast trivia, I did catch Jim Cummings as the security guard in the Amohiba episode "A Day at the Aquarium".

It's the voice he uses for Pete.


MATTHEW - Thanks for another good and insightful episode review.

ANTIYONDER - I hadn't thought about those parallels before; I'll have to watch the Newtopia episodes again to look for those. Thanks for mentioning them.

Todd Jensen

Binging Amphibia Season 2 on Disney Plus:-D.

While not a reference, yeah Lost in Newtopia there are secrets to Keith David's castle that others don't know about. Including an ancient tapestry (which guards said secret) being ruined.

Wonder if we'll find out that the king had an angel who is (thought) dead:-(.


Matthew> "What's more terrifying is the revelation that not only has Jaime been a slave for a good three months but that he's fully aware of everything that happens while under control."

And should the Reach return, that "scrawny" human will be waiting for them:-D.


Before I start, gotta give a happy birthday to Keith David.

Watched "Intervention" today which sees the scheme concocted by the Team to free Blue and Green Beetle from the Reach's control. One thing that stood out to me while rewatching this was the dates, the episode picks up two weeks after the end of "The Hunt" meaning that the Reach was aware of the fact the Team had been freed from the Warworld and thus the heroes now have undeniable proof that Blue Beetle turned on them. Considering the recent PR problems they've had as well as the loss of the Crystal Key and the majority of their fleet, you'd think they would start taking extra precautions. But I guess the Ambassador's arrogance and need to put on a good appearance overruled any pragmatic solution.

What's more terrifying is the revelation that not only has Jaime been a slave for a good three months but that he's fully aware of everything that happens while under control. One thing that was well explored this season is the relationship between Jaime and the Scarab, Jaime once called it "Jiminy Cricket with a bad attitude" which is pretty apt all things considered. But here we get to see how the two of them are when neither of them is in control, Jaime trying desperately to get the Scarab from crossing the line and murdering their friends and the Scarab is just resigned to being the puppet for the Reach. But when freed, the Scarab tells Jaime that it ultimately prefers the partnership with him over the Reach. Even if the Reach is willing to let the Scarab engage in the violence it desires, the Scarab has grown beyond its role as an infiltrator and warrior, it's learned there are things it can't accomplish without the Team and without Jaime.

If there's one criticism I have about this episode is the fact that the plan to free the Beetles went off pretty well with little buildup. But, I should clarify, that this is based on something that was beyond the writers' control. This season wasn't working with a full 26 episodes, otherwise I could imagine that episodes could've depicted the Team looking for a way to fix Blue the moment he revealed what the future held. Batgirl and Robin looking Ted Kord's data here, Zatanna analyzing photos of the Scarab Temple there, that sort of thing. Her and Rocket's involvement does bring up an issue that the Team has had this season, lack of defensive and magical options. With Kaldur undercover and La'gaan being limited in his sorcery, the Team has had a severe lack of magical power. But it also brings up just how much smoother things are when the Team and the Justice League work together, something I'll get to later on.

And finally, we see the end of M'gann and La'gaan's relationship. I know that a lot of people celebrated the breakup (and the more ardent shippers blaming La'gaan for getting in the way of M'gann and Conner) but the thing is, it's much more complicated than that. It's sad to look and this and realize that only one-half of the pairing was really putting in work for the relationship. And despite M'gann's insistence that Conner had nothing to do with it, this and previous episodes prove that's not true. After brain-blasting Kalfur, she started getting closer to Conner while becoming distant to La'gaan and not long after they break up she starts not-so-subtly asking about Conner. It's a good reminder that relationships take careful work, and if you're not careful you could end up hurting several people as well as yourself.

La'gaan's whole time on the Team itself is pretty tragic: he joins up with the Team because he was fascinated with the surface world, then finds himself stuck as the "water guy" because of his inhuman appearance. The guy he looked up to not only betrayed the Team and their king but was responsible for capturing him and seeing him tortured for a week. When he gets rescued his girlfriend becomes distant, his leg gets broken then he finds out his superiors have been lying to him. Then after his girlfriend is saved she only comes to visit to let him know she's dumping him. Heck, even Kaldur's comment about choosing him to take his place on the Team comes off as an empty platitude when you consider that the place was that of "the water guy." And with Garth quitting the Team after Tula's death there might not have been a choice for Kaldur's replacement. And still, Kaldur enjoys the privilege of being able to walk around on the surface among humans, something we never saw La'gaan do. It's honestly no surprise that he left the Team before season 3, he may have faced prejudice even within Atlantis, but at least he could swim around in public.

Some Final Thoughts: Toyman wondering where Superman is does bring up an interesting thought, just what happens with cities with regular superheroes when the heroes are gone for almost a year? I imagine other heroes have to pick up the slack, but it's got to be a weird experience for the Rogues' Gallery. The plan for Zatanna to evoke Isis for the ritual was pretty inspired. In Egyptian myth, Isis wasn't just a goddess of magic but one of rebirth and the patron for slaves. Pretty appropriate for freeing the two captives of the Reach and giving B'arzz the chance to live his own life again. I do wonder what the process is for controlling the hosts of the Scarabs, like is there an awkward period of time where the Reach has to figure the biological needs of their slaves? And what does happen to the minds of those enslaved after a long period of time? Do they continue to resist or after some time does the mind fade away into oblivion as their loss of control disappears?

We see once again the Reach's control start to slip away and not just the fact that they lost Blue and Green. The Ambassador and the Scientist can barely keep from throttling each other and Black Beetle doesn't bother hiding his contempt of the Ambassador anymore. We also see that despite being in Bialya and thus in enemy territory, that Queen Bee had her minions throw the fight in order for the Team to free Blue. Considering her track record, you probably couldn't tell the difference with Shimmer.

Acting MVP: Yuri Lowenthal really captured the heartbreak and bitterness of one who's getting dumped. And Eric Lopez did a spectacular job playing not only Jaime and the Scarab but also the moments when the Ambassador was speaking as Blue Beetle.

DC Profiles: Toyman is a recurring foe of Superman and one that's been used by multiple people. As the name suggests uses high-tech, dangerous toys as part of his schemes.

Lagoon Boy first appeared in Aquaman during the 90's, though he wasn't an Atlantean there. Coming to prominence when he joined up with the Young Justice team from the comics he like many other superheroes, was killed off in "Heroes In Crisis." Which I think bears repeating, was an awful story.

Favorite Lines:

Robin: That's a load of good press for a traitor.
Impulse: Hey! Don't blame Blue. He's just as much a captive of the Reach as we were. We have to set him free. You know, before he conquers the Earth and enslaves all mankind.

Citizen #1: Blue Beetle yeah!
Citizen #2: Our hero!
Citizen #3: Hero? What the- He nearly got us killed!...And the Reach stinks!

Cat Grant: So, you've begun handling situations that, once upon a time, were a job for Superman.
Blue Beetle: Hey, if the Justice League's too busy, I'm happy to pick up the slack.
Jaime: Why am I still waving? I look like an idiot! Scarab, get us out of here!
Scarab: The Reach desire the crowd's adulation and we serve the Reach.
Ambassador: Quite correct Scarab. Fighting human crime is without benefit. Making sure the crowd appreciates it? Priceless.
Scientist: Given the recent negative publicity over or hidden invasion fleet, it is fortunate your puppet is appreciated at all.
Ambassador: Please. The meat love their heroes. You worry too much Scientist. [Through a control speaker] I am so honored by your kind attentions-
Blue Beetle: And so honored to be your hero.
Jaime: That's not the way I talk! And stop waving! I look like the Queen of England. [places hands on his hips] Great, now I'm Peter Pan.

Jaime: Okay, they're down, you won, let's go.
Ambassador: I think not. As this street is currently deserted, we must seize the opportunity. Scarab, kill them both.
Jaime: Scarab, you don't have to do this!
Ambassador: But he does, and so do you. In fact, it will be a good lesson to you to helplessly observe your own body murder your former friends. The first kills are always the hardest my boy. Might as well get them over with.

Blue Beetle: Enjoy your advantage while you can. The Reach tracked my every move.
Ambassador: -And when we're through with you, there won't be enough left for a DNA identification!
Jaime: Nice death threat. Could it get any more technical and dull?
Scientist: Why are they not en route to one of their headquarters? We need to find out where they're taking him!
Ambassador: Tell me our destination.
Blue Beetle: -And I'll make your deaths painless.
Jaime: Oh yeah, that scared 'em.

Jaime: Man, I wish I could ask what's going on.
Scarab: They doubtless plan to destroy Blue Beetle. Ending you and this Scarab in the process.
Jaime: Hermano, if that's the only takeaway from our time together you haven't learned a thing.

Ambassador: No!
Scientist: Beetles Blue and Green are off-mode. We've lost both! Why didn't you listen?! I warned you!
Ambassador: Say...One..More...Word!

Impulse: Hey, hey, hey, hermano! Congrats!
Jaime: Thank you. [Hugs Zatanna]
Scarab: Congratulations, Jaime Reyes.
Jaime: Oh, right. Like you're happy about this.
Impulse: I am! I swear!
Scarab: If this mistrust is your only takeaway from our time together, you haven't learned a thing. This scarab far prefers our partnership to being slaves to the Reach.
Jaime: You know, I believe you.
Impulse: Of course you do. Up high! [They high-five]
B'arzz: It has been so long...I had all but forgotten the sensation of controlling my own body. My gratitude knows no bounds.

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Funny thing is, Arsenal wasn't actually the one to rescue the Team, he left the freeing part to the Runaways while he went after the Crystal Key. The only person he actually freed was Mongul.
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

I could've sworn there was a quick line in the episode about the Warworld being moved slightly, to fix the tidal issues, but I guess not. Honestly after the last few years, a giant orbital superweapon that incidentally messes up the tides isn't the most far-fetched or obviously flawed thing I'd expect people to just accept. And really, when it comes to Arsenal's run around the Warworld, I'm more curious about where he got water from - maybe he had some of those Flash-brand ration bars Wally carried, but he definitely didn't have a few canteens with him.

I know the argument at the end caused a lot of issues for everyone, but honestly I like it just as a collision point for everyone's state of mind so far. Nightwing's exhausted and just found out Arsenal nearly got the rest of the Team killed, Arsenal is wired up on adrenaline and thinks he should get some gratitude for having just saved everyone, the Runaways have no idea what's going on and just made it through on the skin of their teeth - arguments like this can be great if everyone's acting according to what they know and what state they're in, and as long as everything works out in the end, they can be a good way to add some more bumps in the road.

Speaking of bumps in the road, it's delightful to see the Reach - after most of a season of having every problem with the plan kept out of their sight - get the rug yanked out from under them.

Great quotes as always - that bit from Luthor about Slade always reminds me of that Discworld quote, about bishops moving diagonally so they always show up where you don't expect them.

Karrin Blue

Well, full title is "Kraven the Hunter"
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Ah, yes, I'd forgotten about Kraen - but from what I recall of him, he'd definitely fit that motif. Thanks.
Todd Jensen

Todd Jenson> Possibly Kraven's debut episode.

Does anyone remember whether the hunting theme ever arose in "The Spectacular Spider-Man"?
Todd Jensen

Thanks Todd, and I do remember the topic of hunting popping up.
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

MATTHEW - Thanks for the latest review. The one thing I remember about this episode was Godfrey turning on the Reach (which you did such a great summary of), but the title stood out to me. You might recall my 25th anniversary review/commentary on "Gargoyles" where I noted the hunting motif that recurred throughout the series, culminating in "Hunter's Moon"; as a result, I was amused to note an episode in another of Greg Weisman's series called "The Hunt".
Todd Jensen

Matthew> And he's repayed with a squick bit via apparent twincest:-D.

For kids!


"Accept the truth from whatever source it comes."

Like in season 1 when Icicle Jr. unintentionally helps Superboy with his relationship issues.

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Matthew> "it's honestly a little weird to root for Godfrey when he verbally smacks down the Ambassador."

More a testament to Weisman and crew's talent if anything. Like I brought up in old reviews of TSSM's Market Force even though Norman Osborn is obviously a jerkass he rightfully tells Harry off for blaming Peter for his shortcoming.

I get that in this ep too.


Venturing into the belly of the beast.

Watched "The Hunt" today which catches up with the Runaways and the aftermath of what happens to the Team after "War". So there's a few things to puzzle about in this episode and some of that goes into the logistics of the League, the Reach and the Warworld itself. We see that the Reach plan to win the the people of Earth's approval even more by offering the Warworld to Earth as a form of intergalactic deterrent. I have to imagine that the Warworld is still causing tidal disruptions all over the world, so wouldn't humanity want that moved away in order stop that? Or have they just forgotten all about that while caught up in the hype of victory? Because knowing people that's a distinct possibility. Then there's the Warworld itself, there's a joke about writers not knowing the scale of things and I can kind of imagine that here, considering Nightwing and M'gann are trying to do a grid pattern search over something that's just a little smaller than the Earth's moon (circumference 6,783.5 miles). On the other hand, that does make the chances of the Reach's forces accidentally running into the members of the League on guard duty pretty slim, but then it does make me wonder how deep did Arsenal get into the Warworld for those 3-4 days he was on the run? Heck, how much of the Warworld can actually be traversed and isn't just whole machinery? Maybe I'm just putting too much thought into this.

But the may point of the episode is the action as provided by Arsenal and the Runaways, and once again we see how much better they're doing outside of being lab rats at STAR. But just because they've gotten a better handle on their powers doesn't exactly mean they're quite ready for the field just yet, as in the beginning of the fight against Black Beetle as Virgil, Tye and Asami are taken out pretty quickly and the only reason the initially survive is because Ed and Arsenal are able to stall long enough the others to recover. And the fight only goes their way in the end is because they pretty much only use hit and run tactics and then Arsenal releases someone who not only has personal beef with the Reach but can go toe-to-toe with Black Beetle. A good reminder that teamwork isn't always enough to win the day.

But the big issue to come from this is the fallout of Arsenal's freakout and him getting kicked off the Team and the Runaways deciding to peace out on Nightwing. There's a lot of problems to come out of this: for starters Nightwing really should've waited until they were out and away from the Warworld before making the decision. On the other hand, keeping him on wouldn't be fair to the others who were nearly killed because not only has Arsenal chosen to not get the appropriate help, but his adamant refusal to admit what he did was wrong. Yes, he's had trauma but that doesn't give him a free pass to let that trauma harm others. And just because circumstances ended up working out in the end doesn't mean those circumstances were in any way good. And he's conveniently ignoring the fact that he wouldn't be there to "rescue" them if Superboy hadn't taken that blow for him.

Also, the Runaways really should've waited before making the decision to walk out on the Team as well. They didn't bother to hear from the other members of the Team about Arsenal's little "incident." They don't know anything about Arsenal (you'd think they'd pick up that brusque, rude attitude) any more than they do about their Rather Box. There may have been a cut episode with the five of them working together, but honestly it wouldn't surprise me if after hanging out with him for a day or two they just decided to ditch the guy.

Finally we see the image of control the Reach has worked so hard to cultivate has begun to slip away. Possessing the Crystal Key doesn't mean a thing if they can't access the ignition, and we see their partnership with the Light also slipping away. We see the Ambassador lose his cool over the fact that their deception with Blue Beetle has a loose end. Black Beetle has his own grievances with the loss of most of their fleet. And Godfrey, the guy who was previously championed them, has suddenly done a complete 180 on them on national tv. We'll see how this continues soon enough but for the time being, it's pretty cathartic to see the Ambassador's smug look be taken down a peg.

Some Final Thoughts: I liked the little detail of Virgil freaking out at the sight of Black Beetle, him being the only one who knows what Beetle is capable of. While it is good that Tye has gotten a lot better about handling his astral form, smashing that water tower was kind of a jerk move. I mean they're in Taos, people will need that water. This is something that we'll go into more in season 3, but when fighting the Reach, Ed straight up pushes a couple of Reach soldiers into a chasm, most likely killing them. G. Gordon really is a proper right-wing talk show host. Denouncing the Reach publicly and expecting no one to remember that he was praising them and appearing in a commercial with them just last month.

I didn't go into much detail, but I love how the Runaways' powers are depicted here; instead of size shifting, Tye has his gigantic astral form. Which ties well into a spiritual side as hinted at by his grandfather. Neither the episode nor the wiki shows who voiced Mongul for the brief appearance but it's pretty obvious that it isn't Keith David. His natural rumbling is hard to duplicate.

Acting MVP: Arsenal really comes off as a tool this episode, so Crispin Freeman really nailed the performance here. And of course Tim Curry has remained a such an obnoxious delight this whole season, it's honestly a little weird to root for Godfrey when he verbally smacks down the Ambassador.

DC Profiles: Tye, Eduardo and Asami are based on Apache Chief, El Dorado and Samurai, characters who made their depute in "The Super Friends." Their origins weren't something that the show didn't go into in great detail with, which is funny that the characters here got more depth in a few episodes than they did in the previous series and in the comics. I think there's been more depictions of parodies of the characters than the characters proper (especially Apache Chief).

Favorite Lines:

[Arsenal types furiously at a computer terminal which beeps negatively]
Arsenal: Come on, come on you dumb machine!
[computer beeps a negative]
Arsenal: Just give me an outside line to the Watchtower, the Warehouse, anywhere!
[computer beeps a negative and Arsenal smashes his fists against it in frustration which causes an electrical feedback, shocking him. Then a Reach Patrol arrives]
Arsenal: Great, and me basically out of ammo.
[The patrol starts shooting at Arsenal and he takes cover against the terminal which beeps once more as it's shot]
Arsenal: Ha! That's what you get!
[The terminal beeps once more and starts retracting into the floor]
Arsenal: Oh now you're just being petty.

[Tye activates his astral form]
Virgil: Woo hoo! Now you gone done woke up the big man!

Miss Martian: Haven't you already scanned every inch of this place?
Nightwing: Yeah, But I'm obviously capable of missing obvious clues. I totally should have spotted evidence of Blue Beetle's defection after Green Beetle "fixed" his scarab.
Miss Martian: That's my fault. You asked me to scan Green's mind, and I vouched for him without delving deep. I was so afraid to use my powers after what I did to Aqualad. I allowed Green Beetle and his scarab to feed me exactly what The Reach wanted us to believe. So Blue trusted Green and was turned by him, then somehow abducted the Team...All on me.
Nightwing: Except you never would've been in that position if I had trusted you have with the secret of Aqualad's deep cover mission. I put you, Aqualad, Artemis, the whole Team, in unacceptable danger.
Miss Martian: So, this is our guilt-off. I say I messed up, then you say you messed up worse. Dick, we both made mistakes, and we both need to get over ourselves. Save the Team, then save Blue. As a certain 13-year-old was once fond of saying, "That's just what we do."

Virgil: Guys, I saw this freak take down all of these heroes back on the Reach ship.
Black Beetle: Please, don't let that stop you from attacking. I could use the exercise.
[Tye attempts to smash Black Beetle who performs a rocket-powered uppercut to knock him down then disperses the astral form with a blast from his sonic cannon]
Eduardo: Please tell me he did not just take out our big gun in three seconds flat.
Virgil: Skatter!
[They try to run, Virgil and Asami are knocked down]
Black Beetle: So much for exercise.

Ambassador: So you see, G. Gordon. the Reach is all about intergalactic brotherhood.
G. Gordon Godfrey: A lovely sentiment. So, please explain to the good folks at home how it squares with the lies you told us! And the fleet of warships you hid beneath our oceans!
Ambassador: ...I think you're forgetting that those ships helped save Blue Beetle from-
[Footage of the Ambassador at a press conference starts playing behind him]
Ambassador: Unfortunately, The Reach only has this single ship designed for peaceful exploration and diplomacy and unequipped with any weapons.
G. Gordon Godfrey: Now, I don't know what you'd call that on your world, Ambassador. But on planet Earth we call it a bold! Faced! Lie! How many more lies are you hiding beneath our seas? And how much more propaganda will you ask the human race to swallow and wash down with a nice, cold Reach?!

Luthor: So, am I right in thinking congratulations are in order?
Arsenal: Luthor!
Luthor: Ahh. You brought home a souvenir.
Arsenal: Lex Luthor's got you running his errands on the Warworld? This guy's the reason I'm missing eight years of my life and my arm! Don't you get it? He didn't care if you rescued the Team! He was using you... as a distraction to lure Black Beetle away from the crystal key so one of his other pawns could steal it!
Lex Luthor: Mmm, Deathstroke's more of a bishop actually.

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Todd Jensen> And just to add more overanalyzing that's unnecessary due to being non-canon, why is Sevarius' clones unable to be aged with such side effects while in YJ it's not an issue.

My take though is The Light and Cadmus having more unique resources though.


While we're at it, there's the question of how Sevarius will respond to the New Olympians. No doubt "A veritable smorgasbord of genetic material!"
Todd Jensen

Well, the Spawn live in space, so they shouldn't be too bothered if the Big G noms a couple of their planets. ;)
"You never completely have your rights, one person, until you all have your rights." -Marsha P. Johnson

1. Algae X> Well if you employ the same technicalities that Weisman did in Musicology, toss the Inhumans into the mix with the New Olympians and New Gods.

Makes me wonder if even Galactus dread the Space Spawn or if they had the means to avoid him.

And getting back to a recent discussion.
2. Forgot to add Diedrich Bader initially to the Amphibia page (Jason Canmore in Gargoyles and Frog Jordan in Amphibia).

3. Season 2 of the show is coming to Plus on Friday.

4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkDojlLs2Xk

A video with Matt Braly on the show thus far.

For ten minutes starting at 40:22 they talk about the scene meriting the viewer discretion disclaimer.

Minor talk about the Easter Egg regarding the notable references at 50:35.


ANTIYONDER> Well, we know the New Olympian head of state was among the world leaders abducted by the Space Spawn so... not the best first impression.

As for the Radio Play verse, I'd be amused to see the NOs reaction to the New Gods, given Weisman's cited both them and Kirby's Eternals as an influence.

"It takes no compromise to give people their rights ... it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression." -Harvey Milk

Heck there's even that Gargoyles fiction Broken Mirror where Elisa remained as a gargoyle after The Mirror and as soon as they discovered her to formerly be human she received the same treatment as in canon.

How would they likely respond to visitors off planet whether say radio play continuity or the future of the canon story. Would they take a higher road or show that same disdain they do for humans?


MATTHEW> An interesting question. Personally, I tend to suspect most New Olympians would dismiss the Mutates as simply deformed humans. Tho as you suggest, Sphinx would probs be a little more inclined to reach out.
I know you well, Sersi. My guess is that you've beaten off a few already.

So while I was writing the last Gargoyles review I got to thinking, how would the Mutates react to the New Olympians? Or the New Olympians to the Mutates?

I imagine Sphinx may feel a special kinship due to the fact that they resemble her to a degree and might try to bond with them. But it would be awkward for them as their appearance is based on a traumatic event.

When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.