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The Phoenix Gate

Comment Room Archive

Comments for the week ending September 26, 2021

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There really is so much to get into with the Markovs, I'm really excited to see where they go in S4. I'm kinda curious to see if Gregor will have a role in the Team-Outsiders-League support system (maybe Mal's old ops management job? Putting a king in that kind of unglamorous-but-necessary job could be an interesting change) as a way to keep him relatively present, so that even without powers it doesn't feel like he's a third wheel on his own family drama, but there's already so many characters and so little time I won't be surprised if he doesn't come up much.

Oh, and I forgot to mention this before, but - I honestly figured Tara just used her normal accent at school, had a fake identity saying she was from another country, and correctly guessed that Americans would just accept whatever nationality she told them. I'd still love to have gotten a comic issue or a first day at school episode for her, but it probably would've been repetitive after Another Freak.

And thanks, Greg! It's much appreciated, and we're all cheering you guys on for the last stretch of production!

Karrin Blue

Well, that clears up a lot. Thank you Greg!
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

No nudging from M'gann. It was an open space. Everything we depicted was produced by Artemis' conscious or subconscious thoughts.
Greg Weisman

Karrin> For the Markov's, there's so much to talk about for the finale and one that I hope will shed some light on Gregor's actions and Brion's.

As for Zatanna, I'd say she actually had smaller role (but a more public one) in this deception. Her spell was literally, "This is just a show of light and sound" which I would say hid and quieted Artemis away while she was in "Limbo", only dissipating once she walked through the door. The rest was M'gann's mental playground she created for Artemis. Which is why I feel there's an odd situation where I wonder where M'gann's little nudging (if it exists) ends and where Artemis' subconscious begins.

And either way this was obviously something that they had to plan for, sometimes I wonder if this was at one point a maneuver the two them came up with while on the Team. Zatanna directing the target's attention with a flashy bit of magic while M'gann subtly pulls a trick.

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

So how long d'you think they were waiting to make this an episode title...

Actually, during the hiatus I did look into the etymology of 'overwhelmed', and was interested to find out that the reason no one is ever just whelmed is that 'whelmed' means exactly the same thing as 'overwhelmed'. They both mean something being submerged, or turned over, like a ship in stormy weather. Fitting for an episode that's a calm before the storm, an interval between high-action episodes, but also the emotional state of the characters. Artemis' grief over Wally, the Genomorphs' wanting to be treated as people, Forager wanting to be seen as himself, Tara being increasingly caught between Slade's control over her and her unhappiness with leaking information - all these little waves have been building up, then rise up and submerge them.

Metron being Violet and Victor's weird space grandpa is honestly one of my favorite little tidbits. I don't have much to say on that other than that I really want them to refer to each other as their cousin sometime in S4, to the confusion of others not in on the intricacies of the space god-computer family tree.

I wish we could've seen the great Genomorph heist, but at the same time, I think it's a credit to the heroes - of course they're good enough at what they do they can organize and pull off evacuating a whole city of enslaved creatures, no problem.

I've been assuming the Markovs have been video-calling each other since Tara's rescue. It's unfortunate, but between Gregor being less than a year into his administration and having taken the throne in very political volatile times, I can understand why he just wouldn't be able to get away for months. And with metas still being blocked from Markovia, I tend to figure that's the same issue he mentioned way back in the beginning - he only has so much political capitol to spend at a given time, especially as a new and young king, and he's been prioritizing the Quraci refugees. I also think there's a difference between the king taking an evening off to have a private meeting when nothing seems to be going on, and the king being conspicuously absent during a national crisis. One is fairly normal, the other is very much not. And I think it's interesting to see that, push come to shove, just like he was the one to push back on DeLamb's lying in Eminent Threat, he does actually have some conviction and steel in his spine (even if he usually plays the wait-and-see negotiator more often.)

I can't blame Zatanna too much for her choices here. The situation was both very complicated and very immediate - Artemis threatening to go to a supervillain if she didn't help would be pretty frightening. From Zee's perspective, I can see her really being torn between either letting Artemis go (where she'd either fail and crash harder, or succeed and end up beholden to a monster or die) or trying to give her what she wanted. Hell, Artemis was actually going to try and stay in Limbo - if she was there for real, that'd be literally suicidal. I can see why someone who cares about her would try anything to get her off the ledge.

And I think that, as far as what Zatanna actually did, it's... about as minimal manipulation as she could get away with. She gives Artemis a pretty accurate caveat emptor about how she won't be able to trust anything she sees, even if Artemis doesn't really listen, and - though I do plan to ask a few clarifying questions about this on the 16th - what Artemis sees isn't created by Zatanna or what she thinks Wally would say, putting words in a dead man's mouth, but Artemis' own subconscious, what she knows Wally would say to her. Even the interjections from 'Zatanna', I see as Artemis' own knowledge that she doesn't really want to stay here forever, that she has people waiting for her to come back to them. After all, Zatanna describes it as a playground where Artemis' mind created everything - and I tend to believe her, especially given how much she seems to trust Rocket.

Basically, I think they didn't decide to 'nudge' her because she wasn't moving on from her grief fast enough - she said either they help her or she'd do whatever it took to get the results she wanted or die trying, and wouldn't let them try to talk her down or talk her through it, so they did their best to let her work things out to her own satisfaction, safely. It's definitely sketchy, but I don't mind characters making ethically questionable choices if it makes sense for those characters - and I can see why Zee would resort to this as her least bad option.

It's definitely going to come up again sometime, though. I'm just hoping they'll be able to talk about it like adults who love each other rather than it destroying their relationship. We'll see!

And on the topic of potential demon season-arc villains - I know the crew doesn't want to rehash all the old arcs without remixing them, but there's always Trigon.

Karrin Blue

Algae> Yep, Ibac too who also has a connection to the occult. There was also Felix Faust who traditionally gets his magic through deals with the underworld.

Todd> The 90's huh? Definitely before I came here.

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

MATTHEW - I think it was somewhere in the late 90's, though I might be wrong.
Todd Jensen

MATTHEW> IIRC they name dropped Captain Marvel villain Sabbac back in S1, who in the comics at least, is empowered Shazam-style by a cabal of Hell Lords. Specifically...


Quite the list of character references there.

The sword is the tool of a soldier, one who fights at the behest of others, a servant to the Power. The scepter, on the other hand, this is the totem of a true ruler.

Thanks Todd, didn't know Greg had a book club here. Must've been before I started posting here.

Algae> Funny thing is that the demonic forces have been something that's more implied than shown thus far. A proper demon would make for a good seasonal villain I think.

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

You know, considering that literal demons from literal Hell are a real thing in DC cosmology, I can imagine the panic attack Zatanna must have had hearing Artemis threaten to run off and make a deal with "whoever".
The sword is the tool of a soldier, one who fights at the behest of others, a servant to the Power. The scepter, on the other hand, this is the totem of a true ruler.

Thanks for another fine review, Matthew.

The reference to "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" in the Quotes section reminded me of a short-lived "Book Club" Greg Weisman started here many years ago, which opened with Coleridge's poem. (It also included, I recall, "The Postman Always Rings Twice", "Reach for the Sky "(a biography of Douglas Bader), Mary Renault's "The King Must Die", and Mary Stewart's "The Crystal Cave".)

Todd Jensen

“When I think of death, and of late the idea has come with alarming frequency, I seem at peace with the idea that a day will dawn when I no longer be among those living in this valley of strange humors.
I can accept the idea of my own demise, but I am unable to accept the death of anyone else.
I find it impossible to let a friend or relative go into that country to no return.
Disbelief becomes my close companion, and anger follows in its wake.
I answer the heroic question ‘Death, where is thy sting?’ with ‘It is here in my heart and mind and memories.'”

-Maya Angelou

And this is why no one is ever just "whelmed"; watched "Overwhelmed" today which brings a little bit more drama before the end some secrets revealed and one more secret shared. After all the action from the last episode it is nice to have a bit of downtime and just let the characters and story breath for a bit. One thing I noticed is that there's quite some time between the passing of the last episode and this one, going from late January to the middle of February, makes me wonder what happened in that time. Especially considering Metron's timing when he decides to drop in on Vic and Violet. This appearance marks not only a a big case of foreshadowing of Vic and Violet's importance in the coming war against Apokolips (that we know of thus far) but also a ever-so-slight change to Metron's character as well. Beforehand, he was willing to let the Father Box completely subsume Vic as it piqued his interest and now he's referring to the two as his grandchildren and taking a deeper interest in them. Though not enough to give them anything more than his usual enigmatic answers, I reckon that he's taking this much more approachable response as a way to observe the two of them in a way that he couldn't do with his normal attitude.

Here's where we also learn the answer to a question that might've been burning in our heads since the end of the first season, just what happened with the Genomorphs? Well as it turned out, they were liberated after Superboy brought the plight of the genomorphs to Superman and the League. I do like the little foreshadowing that Lex Luthor's schemes for them were undone by some public attention, and the fact that there's no way Luthor could spin him owning an entire sentient race. But on the matter of public attention it brings up a certain point I made about Conner back in "Agendas", namely the privilege he has with his human appearance as opposed to the other genomorphs. The scenes with him, Forager and Dubbilex are fascinating, not just because we haven't seen Conner and Forager interact for awhile and he and Dubbilex for over a season, but because of the discussion they have when it comes to the long term progression of, well...progression. Ultimately, Forager decides that he wants to stay on Earth because even though there are prejudices and hardships that he'll face, these very things are being faced. And while Dubbilex doesn't pressure him, he does appeal, rather subtly, to Conner's best qualities. Because over the last few episodes, the comparisons between Superboy and Superman have been coming in pretty frequently; and if Superman can help free them from Luthor's control, then who better to bring them into the light than their own brother?

In keeping with the theme of family, we have the long awaited return of Gregor and the first proper reunion of the Markov siblings in three years, and really, I can't even imagine what that kind of reunion would be like. But the episode did remind me of a few things that I had forgotten, like the fact that Tara's rescue from meta-traffickers was kept secret. This brings up a few questions of like when were they going to reveal that fact considering her kidnapping was a very public thing. And what identity was she going under while attending Happy Harbor High (and whether she needed to do something like fake an accent while there). Given that she's a member of the Team I can recognize the need to keep her under wraps, but that brings up the family factor with Gregor. It's been a good four months since she was rescued and Gregor just now makes a visit, you'd think after three years he'd want to see her immediately. I won't go much into it until the next episode but it does foreshadow what I believe to be his more critical flaw, a certain lack of assertiveness. We see that (much to Tara's concern) that Markovia still has its restrictions against metas. And despite Gregor's insistence on patience, there hasn't been a fraction of the work done in Markovia that the Outsiders have done and that's with the work that was spear-headed by the late King and Queen. And there's something about how Gregor says he could use Brion's recent interview as a way to push public support, as if that's not what the interview was about already. As if he couldn't be doing the very same thing without having to piggyback on his brother's work. Of course I can't go into too much detail without going into the next episode but I will end on two more points. One, is that despite Gregor stating that he can't hide away in secret while Markovia is being taken over, he kinda did that very sort of thing with his secret family reunion. And two, is that Brion has finally seemed to learn the value of patience and is encouraging Tara to do the same. Again, something to keep in mind for the next episode.

But the main meat of the story is Artemis' grief, "reunion", and "closure." And I put quotations there because of the three, only the first is 100% genuine. I've spoken about grief before during these reviews and how important it is not to rush through the process of grieving as that can only cause more harm. Now I won't go through all the critiques and criticisms laid at the five stages of grief but rather, I'll give you my own interpretation. Grief isn't a checklist where you go through the appropriate emotion at a certain time before moving on to the next stage. Grief is a pinball. One day you've got it locked into acceptance and then the next day when you've been hit by the right emotional trigger or possibly for no reason at all, you're bouncing back between denial and and depression and anger and bargaining. Because the simple truth is that we are emotional beings and often time our own emotions aren't going to make sense to us all the time. But more than that, we're beings who's world and connections are shaped by how and who we interact with; that's why I said that Artemis' words to Dick about Wally always being with them and treating it like he's still with them would be put to the test. Because as nice as a sentiment as that is, we so often rely on being physically presence for those connections. Without being able to see them, speak to them, hold them, the feelings of absence and eventually loss will take hold. The scene of Artemis rushing off and tearfully apologizing to Wally's photo is a perhaps a good example of those two points crashing into each other. Begging Wally's forgiveness as if he just walked in on her and Will kissing and trying to explain that it was just a momentary thing, that she didn't even know why she did it. But at the same time, she does know. Because she and Will have really lost someone close to themselves. Because it's Valentine's Day and they're both sad, alone and missing the other parts of their heart.

Something I mentioned in "Private Security" is the bond between Artemis and Zatanna that's wholly different from the relationship with the other members of the Team, not necessarily stronger or better, but one where the two of them were pretty open about sharing their closest vulnerabilities. Which is why Zatanna and M'gann's decision to "nudge" Artemis' acceptance is just a bit shocking. M'gann has made her position on manipulating other people's minds pretty clear (and part of the reason why I think this episode should've placed a little earlier in the series, probably before the big reveal of the Anti-Light). And Zatanna made it a big point in "Secrets" about how those dirty secrets have a bad habit of popping up again. Now you can certainly argue that it was for her own good, to keep her from doing something rash like trying to seek out Wotan or some other evil, immortal sorcerer. Now with the fact that we've spent an entire episode on giving Artemis closure, the reveal at the end and the fact that we're of this writing still getting "NO SPOILERS" when it comes to Wally's fate, there's a lot to unpack. I've certainly had my feelings known on the matter, as most everyone else here. So instead I'd like to close on two last points. One is the recurring theme of secrets and the inevitable reveal that goes along with it in this series. When it comes to darker secrets like Artemis' family ties, M'gann's true form, the truth of Kaldur's defection, the truth of the League splitting up. It's no longer a case of if these things are reveal but when and how it happens. With that in mind, just what do you thing is going to trigger the truth of this "reunion"? And secondly, it's on how we treat people who have gone through such a loss and how help them move on or encourage them to live. For some people, moving past these terrible events and learning to love again is a sign of personal growth and catharsis. And for others, the ones who loved so deeply that they want to stay true even after their significant other has passed on. And life, in part, is just a waiting area until they can meet again. Can we honestly condemn one or the other choice? The truth is, none of us really know what or who is waiting for us on the other side. But some can certainly hope.

Some Final Thoughts: I've talked about this before, but I really think a large part of Will and Artemis' attraction to each other is in part a kind of projection coming from whom they've lost. For Will, Artemis' life had that kind of thrill and excitement that he briefly had with Jade. For Artemis, Will represented a quieter, more domestic life that she also had briefly with Wally. It's not for nothing that her mindscape created a world for her without the Life, where the two of them had settled down and have a child of their own. Because I think Artemis really wanted to give her child the kind of life she never had, one of love and stability. But another question that I still can't really give up on is, just how much of that was her own mind and how much was prodded along by M'gann's psychic influence? You can certainly say that eventually came to the conclusion herself but Zatanna also warned her just how seductive that kind of happiness could be. And those early attempts to remind her of the illusion and (artificial) deadline were just brushed away. Is it possible that her friend was in part slightly nudging her to that closure until Artemis' own subconscious was able to take over? I really don't have the answer and it may be false, but at the same time I can't help but wonder.

I was curious about the construction of the new genomorph city, and just how the League managed to build it without attracting attention from the government. Considering John Stewart's career as an architect, I can only imagine his excitement about being able to design and build a small city. Also we get some new genomorph names, I know that two of them are named for his kids, I wonder if the others like Beth and Kraig are also referencing other people.

Acting MVP: Once again, I have to give it Stephanie Lemelin and Jason Spisak. Something about the writing of these characters just brought out the best performance from the two of them.

DC Profiles: The eldest of the Markov twins, Gregor took the throne after his brother and the Outsiders helped oust Bedlam from the country. For a while, he became the Outsiders largest sponsor and encouraged them to act as agents of change for the country, allowing him to implement some democratic reforms. Eventually, he was assassinated by Dr. Jace who pinned the blame on his brother.

Favorite Lines:

Fred Bugg: While the decision is difficult, Miss Martian believes Forager can safely return to New Genesis. But Forager has made many good friends here on Earth. Forager believes Forager would like to stay, but Forager cannot be Forager here on Earth. Only Fred Bugg. And Fred Bugg's Glamour Charm has become...An albatross around Forager's neck. [Conner gives a quizzical look] Fred Bugg has been reading The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in Happy Harbor High School English class.

Gregor: Excellent. Just excellent. I can use this good press to bring you both back to Markovia.
Tara: I thought meta-humans weren't permitted in Markovia.
Brion: They're not.
Gregor: No, but I'm trying to change that. You both just need to be patient.
Brion: [chuckling] I believe patience is a virtue I have finally acquired.
Gregor: Then miracles can happen! Something I certainly should have known by now. [Gregor pulls all three of them into a hug] For it is a true miracle that the three of us are together again for the first time in years. That's why I had to come.
Tara: In secret.
Gregor: Yes. I'm sorry that's necessary. I'd like nothing more than to proclaim your rescue to the Heavens.
Brion: But that's not politically expedient now.
Gregor: I'm afraid not. But soon. We simply must be-
All: Patient.

Artemis: Thanks for coming, but, um, I only asked to see Zatanna. Don't either of you have Valentine's plans?
Raquel: Sure. But you know we'd do anything to help you.
Artemis: You two can't help me. [pulling Zatanna aside] Only she can. Why did you bring them? They're not part of this.
Zatanna: They're not here for this part. They're here for the aftermath. Assuming we do this at all.
Artemis: Assuming?
Zatanna: I've told you there are limits to my magic. I can't raise the dead.
Raquel: Raise the dead?!
Zatanna: If we do this, it'll leave you devastated all over again. I am asking... I am begging you to reconsider.
Artemis: You say you can't raise the dead. But we both saw Secret rise from her grave. We know the soul exists. [Artemis grabs Zatanna's hand imploringly] And you know I never had the chance to say goodbye. I- I never had closure.
Zatanna: Artemis, I love you, but that's something you need to work through, like anyone who's suffered a loss.
Artemis: No! I need your magic! I will do anything! If you won't help me, I will make a deal with...Wotan or somebody, I swear it!
Zatanna: I can't bring a dead soul to Earth. The best I can do is help you meet him halfway.
Atremis: [hugging Zatanna from relief] Thank you!
Zatanna: D... don't thank me. Just try to not hate me when this is over. I'll be sending your soul to Limbo. Nothing there is real. Your imagination creates everything you see. It'll be very seductive. Easy to get lost, to want to stay. And if you don't emerge by sunrise, your soul will be trapped there. Forever.
Artemis: I understand.
Raquel: Do you? 'Cause I sure don't-
Artemis: I do. And I take full responsibility. Now, let's get to it.
Zatanna: [to Raquel and M'gann] Please, step back.
[Zatanna's eyes glow and the wind picks up as she begins her spell]
Zatanna: Siht si tsuj a wohs fo thgil DNA DNUOS!
[A briiliant light envelops Artemis and when she opens her eyes, she's dressed all in white and standing a strange land made up entirely of clouds, then a voice calls out to her]
"Wally": Hey babe, [he emerges from the clouds, also dressed all in white] Missed ya.
Artemis: [joyfully] Wally.

Dubbilex: We are comfortable here, but the dream is not yet achieved. Though safe in Geranium City, we are segregated. And when not segregated, we hide, even in plain sight, never permitted to be ourselves.
Forager: Forager understands. This problem is common. Forager could return to his hive on New Genesis and safely blend in among the other drones. But at least, on Earth, the prejudices are being faced.
[Forager hands the glamor charm to Conner]
Conner: What are you-?
Forager: Forager will remain here, on the front lines. Forager will join the Outsiders and fight the good fight where the entire Earth Hive may see that Forager is Forager... And perhaps Forager's openness will help the Geraniums.
Dubbilex: That is admirable, my new friend. [to Conner] Will you do as much?
Conner: Excuse me?
Dubbilex: You, brother, were freed from Cadmus to lead us to the promised land. But still you hide, which keeps us in hiding, at a time when all meta-humans, including Genomorphs, struggle for acceptance. You know you can do more to help.
Forager: Conner Kent has helped Forager. And Brion, and Violet, and Victor and Tara.
Dubbilex: Yes, our brother has always been good at collecting strays. [Wolf gets up at hearing that] At helping individuals, because he sees himself as an individual. Alone. Apart. But when will you acknowledge your own place? Your own role in the connected world? When will you take the final step to help your own people? Ask yourself, brother. What would Superman do?

"Wally": Well, uh, that's the problem, babe. What do you see?
Artemis: It's getting lighter. The sun's about to rise. I think it's going to be a beautiful morning.
"Wally": Sure. But what else do you see?
Artemis: I...I see everything I need right here.
"Wally": I get it. That's one beautiful baby. Is it a boy or a girl?
Artemis: What?
"Wally": What's the baby's name?
Artemis: I...We...We haven't named it yet.
"Wally": It? No. We talked a little about having an "it" one day, but we could never agree on a name for a boy or a girl. I still like Wolf, by the way. Wolf West, just so you know.
Artemis: [laughing] For the last time, we are not naming our child after Conner's dog.
"Wally": What child?
[Artemis looks and sees that her "baby" has disappeared from her arms]
Artemis: Where-? No. No. No, no, no, no, no! [their dog Brucely begins to fade away] Brucely!
[Bit by bit the imaginary house fades away, leaving nothing more than a door leading elsewhere]
"Wally": Open the door, Artemis. Let people in again. Or better yet, walk through it yourself. You've made a good start by helping Violet, Tara and the rest. But, you haven't let anyone help you.
Artemis: [sobbing she hugs tight to "Wally"] Please. Please. Please. Please, hold on. Hold on.
"Wally": I can't, babe. Believe me, I want to. But I love you too much. I won't let you throw your life away on a memory of what was or even on a dream of what might have been. There's a real life for you beyond this door. A chance at real love.
Artemis: [crying] No, I had my chance.
"Wally": You'll get another. So, this very morning, I want you to stop mourning. I want you to live your life and find love. I'm not sure who could possibly deserve you. But I trust you to make the right choice. After all, babe, you must have good taste. You picked me.
Artemis: [laughing through her tears] I'm...I'm not sorry that I came here.
"Wally": Hey, me neither. We needed this night to finally say goodbye. But the night's ending, and it's time for my Spitfire to go home and live.
[The two of them give each other one last, passionate kiss. Artemis cups her hands around "Wally's" face and he gives them a small encouraging kiss. Slowly, but deliberately. Letting go of his hand. Artemis opens the door and walks into the sunrise. And she emerges again in the park]
Artemis: [crying but chuckling] The Spirits have done it all in one night.
Zatanna: Artemis! [She and M'gann run up to hug her]
Artemis: It's all right. It's all right. I'm good. And I'm very grateful, Z. I got what I needed. Thank you.
[The four of them exit the park, M'gann with Artemis and Raquel with Zatanna]
Raquel: Wow. I still can't believe you summoned Wally's ghost for her.
Zatanna: [softly so that the other two can't hear her] I did no such thing. I told Artemis I didn't have that power, and I meant it.
[Raquel looks and sees M'gann still comforting Artemis]
Raquel: Then M'gann-!
Zatanna: M'gann created a playground, an open space in Artemis' mind. But Artemis created or imagined everything she saw and experienced. My legerdemain and M'gann's telepathy gave her the chance to work things out for herself. We'll tell her someday. Or...maybe we won't.

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

Knowing YJ, it'd be just like them to have both an Armagedda and an Armagetto, and probably poke a bit of fun at the mixup. Though I'll be pretty surprised if we get Orion vs Darkseid - isn't that an end of days, Ragnarok, the universe turns to a new era sort of thing? Though I wouldn't put it past any of the writers...
Karrin Blue

KARRIN> "Armagedda is an existing location on Apokolips, though comics being what they are it might be a misspelling of 'Armagetto'."

Oooh, that's pretty suggestive given Armagetto's the place where Darkseid is prophesied to be finally slain by his son Orion's hand according to Kirby lore.

Plus it's be neat to see more of Apokolips outside of Darkseid's balcony. :P

The sword is the tool of a soldier, one who fights at the behest of others, a servant to the Power. The scepter, on the other hand, this is the totem of a true ruler.

Ah, I see it now. Some of those - Supertown and Ma'aleca'andra particularly - might be counted as already-visited, because of flashbacks or seeing them in the distance, but I'm on the fence about that. I'd love to see them up close, though.

Also, serendipitously enough Tor Publishing's site's series on C.S. Lewis just got to Out of the Silent Planet. Interesting that there, too, Malacandra is populated by three sentient races - but, of course, they get along far better than their DC counterparts. And YJ's take will probably draw more from Burroughs, as far as homaging old novels goes.

Karrin Blue

The wiki's twitter listed the new places as well as photos of the cast and crew with the our shirts.

[SPOILER] Siren would be a cool addition, the Light needs some more female representation (Granny was never really a big part of the group). It could bring in a representative from the sea, which has been missing since Manta's arrest, and it would be the first time the Light had more than seven members in the upper echelons. [/SPOILER]

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

Armagedda is an existing location on Apokolips, though comics being what they are it might be a misspelling of 'Armagetto'.

I'm not sure Khütien Peak is where Vandal's HQ is - after all it's on the international border, so I'd think both countries would keep an eye on it. Plus there's hikers and mountaineers and such, apparently. But another friend did suggest it might be tied to Earth-16's version of Nanda Parbat - since a season called Phantoms might be just the time to bring in Boston Brand.

[SPOILER] I only saw the photos on Josh Keaton and Vanessa Marshall's twitters, so I hadn't seen Xebel. Maybe instead of having Arthur's brother be the main Atlantis villain, Mera's sister Siren will have a go - it'd be nice to have more than one woman on the Light proper. [/SPOILER]

Karrin Blue

Oh never mind, saw it on new places for the season.

So I'll put this in spoilers just to be safe.
[SPOILER] Xebel is a kingdom/prison in Atlantis so maybe we'll get some more undersea adventures. Ma'aleca'andra is definitely referencing Mars so we'll hopefully get that deep dive in Mars politics. Supertown is in New Genesis so I imagine that Armagedda is Apokolips. [/SPOILER]

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

Interesting points Karrin. And yeah, if this series got as much freedom with how many episodes could show up per season as other series do, I think the pacing would be much better.

So Khüiten Peak is in Mongolia, which is where the Light, or rather Vandal Savage's headquarters are located. So that's the connection there. I didn't see Armagedda though, was that on anyone's particular twitter?

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

And we're into the home stretch, coming down the pike.

I can't say I disagree with the stuff about pacing - this episode is a lot more straightforward than most of our others, but as far as getting things sorted I don't think it's doing too bad. I do wonder if this is supposed to be a setup for more Granny later, where she'll be galvanized by her defeat here, but who knows. I also do wish it'd been a bit clearer how Halo unlocked rainbow power - my general thought is that, if Granny jailbroke her connection to the Source to use her for the Anti-Life Equation, then Halo was able to use that newly-unlimited (or at least, less strictly limited) connection to get 'all colors at once + Anti-Life Cleanse' mode. And that way we get a nice, evil always contains the seeds of its defeat, by trying to use an innocent to harm others you gave them the power to bring freedom, hoist by your own petard, sort of thing. But having that actually be clear would've been nice. And to your point about the DCAU, it strikes me less as writing into a corner and more, they knew where this had to go and they just didn't have room or time to flesh it out as well as they might have wanted.

Also, I forgot to mention this last week but - I do like how Vandal just, shows up on the heroes' front door to tell them where to go. It's like you can hear the heroes thinking about whether or not they want Vandal to think he can just call them up as his errand runners, and how the situation is bad enough and the information is useful enough they can't really tell him off. Usually hero-villain interchanges like this are between friendlier pairs, it's fun to see them with characters who really aren't. But I don't think that little turn-the-villains-against-each-other thing is much of an Anti-Light move - being the good guys doesn't mean they're obliged to spare Granny Goodness' feelings. The Anti-Light was bad because it was the heroes lying to each other, not because using psych-outs or even just letting the villains know how they're betraying each other is dishonorable. I'm pretty sure Superman's done just the same thing a few times, it's a time-honored way of breaking up villain alliances, especially when it lets the heroes and their honest teamwork with each other be a counterpoint.

Algae> Yeah, that's pretty great. I'm looking forward a lot to see Halo fighting tyranny while enveloped in rainbow light, for pretty much that exact reason

Also, on Twitter there's some pictures of the crew memento T-shirts from this season! The Young Justice Galactic Tour, with a list of 'touring locations.' Most are pretty familiar, but I did notice Armagedda and Khüiten Peak - does anyone remember any blink-and-you'll-miss-it trips there? And then there's whatever ones were cut off or hidden in the photos.

Karrin Blue

Huh, never thought of it that way. But definitely not wrong.
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Into the Breach, wherein the literal Gods of Tyranny and Subjugation are vanquished by a genderqueer bisexual with rainbow powers.
The sword is the tool of a soldier, one who fights at the behest of others, a servant to the Power. The scepter, on the other hand, this is the totem of a true ruler.

Thanks Todd, always appreciated.
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Thanks for the latest review, Matthew.
Todd Jensen

Insert your Henry V joke here x_________

Watched "Into the Breech" today which makes for a rare type of episode in that the events here take place almost simultaneously as the events in the last episode. And it repeats a lot of the same points as the last episode as the overall goal remains the same in taking down the not-so-good Granny, except here there's a narrow success. Consequently, because the episode is focused mostly on action and only on a small group of heroes, I'm having trouble determining if there just isn't much to this episode or whether there's a lot more to it and I'm just missing it.

This is where we see the end of Granny as this season's arc villain and to be perfectly honest, I kind of wish we got a bit more of a beatdown on her. Not that her loss and humiliation was bad, but the very nature of her character is going to inspire some feelings of, "That's it? That can't be it! Hurt 'em some more!" But being the literal New God of child abuse this is one of those cases where there's never going to be enough catharsis in their defeat. Honestly, I was a little surprised that they decided to make the physical threat that she was in this episode considering Granny is usually depicted as preferring to beat people who can't fight back. You could say that Granny represents the central antagonistic theme of the season, one who abuses and exploits children for nefarious means and so her defeat at the very hands of those she abused would be best outcome. Which is why I think having her defeat at just the hands of so small a number of heroes just makes for a lesser conclusion. Losing at the hands of Halo, Beast Boy and Vic (the first two having the lion's share of screen time) does, well, not so much a disservice to the other characters but rather a missed opportunity. I mean, she is a New God, she can surely survive the kind of beatdown that would come form the whole Team getting a chance to wail on her a little bit. But that and her battle against Beast Boy shows the dangers of lopsided fights in fiction, if the hero just completely dominates the villain in a fight, the villain loses all sense of intimidation and the audience may start to admire the villain for weathering such a big onslaught. If the villain spends the whole fight bodying the hero until the very end when the hero manages to hit them in the enchanted shin or something then the villain looks like a mere glass cannon and the heroes main strength lies in being a punching bag.

So one of the things about having both of the episodes happening at around the same time is that you technically have the villains succeed and fail at the same time. Granny does succeed in spreading the Anti-Life Equation across the star system but then you realize that it's only a few moments later that she and her Gretchen counterpart merged back together and Vic arrives to help free Halo. That's actually kinda disturbing for the Outsiders, they managed to stop Gretchen, then Vic Boom Tubes away and then they're suddenly caught in the Anti-Life Equation (and not long after being exposed to the X-Pit as well. Vic's arrival could be regarded as some seriously good timing or some seriously dumb frikkin' luck. Actually, this might be my biggest complaint not just with the episode but of the wrap-up of this arc as well, the convenience of it all. It doesn't take long for Halo to figure out how to undo the Anti-Life Equation (though as we saw in "True Heroes" Halo was able to figure out that they had all the power they needed to cleanse Vic) and there doesn't seem to be any side effects for the non-metas after this cleanse. Also conveniently, M'gann learns that M'comm has returned to Mars from a reliable source (who that is or how she knows that isn't explored) but it does give Forager the chance to return to New Genesis or stay with his Hive, and you can guess what he chooses. I mentioned back in "Auld Acquaintance" that the story could've benefitted from stretching out some of the plot elements out as it seemed a little crowed for a climax, and that same thing is definitely needed here. I don't know, it sometimes reminds of how the DCAU often times wrote themselves into corners and just took the easy route for the conclusion.

And to wrap up, Vic has completed his arc from tragic victim of chance into full blown hero, as Cyborg. I've mentioned before that he's had no personal stake in the overall plot of the series so there were long periods of time where he just didn't show up at all. But his relationship with Violet put a change to all that given that they were the one to help him time and time again (at no small risk to themselves too). I actually like the slow build up to heroism here, slowly opening himself up to those who want to befriend him like like Forager and Violet, eventually letting go of his anger towards his father once he's seen that he's changed. And finally helping out a friend who's helped him numerous times because Vic is a good guy and that's what good guys do. I also like that while he can't get back to the life he used to have, him becoming a hero doesn't mean sacrificing who he is as a person, that same drive that made him a star football player is also what allows him to overcome Overlord. Because whether it's on the Gridiron or in the Grid, he's crushin' it.

Some Final Thoughts: I haven't discussed them much (because they haven't had much of an impact, yet) but we see Infinity Inc. now growing in popularity with the public and I wonder if that will be a theme in the next season, public conflict between different hero groups. We also see that the villains have co-opted a strategy from the heroes, faking events to make their heroes look good. And there's so much wrong with that statement. So the heroes actually follow through with Vandal's request and inform her of exactly who screwed her over, which is actually a little surprising. Not because I can't see the heroes twisting the knife just a little bit but because the the kind of tactic of turning the two villain sides against one another is very much in keeping with the Anti-Light's modus operandi and yet it's Superboy who's doing it. Beast Boy changing his head to somewhat resemble Granny reminds me a lot of that shapeshifting limit writers put on themselves. It's a small moment but I think at the end where the heroes work together to destroy Granny's machine and even help contain the explosion is the perfect metaphor for the heroes are strongest when working together openly. Oh, and if you're paying attention, look who Ed tries to rescue from the X-Pit first, Bart. Take that as you will.

Acting MVP: What can I say? Everyone crushed it.

DC Profiles: Granny Goodness is a long-standing member of Darkseid's inner circle and the Goddess of Child Abuse. On Apokolips she runs numerous "orphanages" where she weeds out potential warriors that she can mold into her attack force as well as engage in her sadistic tendencies. Unrepentant in her cruelty, her actions have not only created a few heroes but also have driven several of her minions against her.

Favorite Lines:

El Dorado: Okay, Mr. Highway, what did you find out?
Vic: Uh, let me see if I can show you.
[A hologram projects from his palm]
Wonder Girl: Ooo-kay, since when can you do that?
Vic: First time. (Doing a lot of stuff for the first time these days) Anyway, I jacked into the studio's proprietary network, and found this. Building Sixteen, a storage facility for props and costumes with no network connectivity at all.
Blue Beetle: Gee, that's not suspicious.
Vic: Right? So I checked again and found a clear Apokoliptan signature, which I could sense...'cause apparently that's a thing I can do now.

[The Outsiders stand before the recently hidden, very sinister-looking machine]
Wonder Girl: Whoa...
Kid Flash: So, a big sci-fi machine, making a loud, nefarious "WEEE-OOO." I'm guessing it's Klamulon-tech.
Scarab: The Kid Flash is incorrect. It is Apokoliptan in origin. Not compatible.
Blue Beetle: "Not compatible." Why do I have the sinking feeling I'll be hearing that a lot tonight?
Vic: Give me a second. I can figure it out. I speak its language.
Kid Flash: You speak "WEEE-OOO?"

Beast Boy: [panting] Let 'em go, Granny.
Gretchen: Heh. And why would I do that? It's your fault they're in this position. Such a willful child. But then, I always was too soft on my favorite star.
Beast Boy: Don't pretend you care. You only pulled me out so you could watch me watch my friends suffer.
Gretchen: That I appreciate the value of your suffering is what makes me an excellent Hollywood Producer. But, in this case, I'm trying to do you a favor. You need discipline only your Granny can provide. So I offer a fair fight. [dramatically] "Beast Boy versus Gretchen Goode." Eh he heh heh Ha! Winner take all.
Beast Boy: Deal.
Gretchen: Mmm, goody! Though it's a shame I can't stream the battle. The numbers would kill. Overlord, merge, please.
[The two cubes merge into one arena and the two of them square off. Beast Boy transforms into a rhinoceros and charges Gretchen who not only braces against the impact but slams Garfield to the ground]
Gretchen: I believe I told you, Garfield, you have no idea what I really am.

[Beast Boy now a Gorilla, charges Gretchen and punches her square in the face, it does nothing]
Gretchen: You see, child, that's why you neeeed this lesson. No matter how nasty you think you are...[She ducks under another blow and uppercuts him hard enough to knock him down]...there's always someone nastier.
Beast Boy: Nastier, than this? [His hair and face now resembling Gretchen, he vaults over hitting her a few times before she catches another blow barehanded]
Gretchen: [Socking him in the gut with every word] Rude! Rude! RUDE!

[Violet awakens after having the Cerebral Leash taken off]
Violet: What... What's happening?
[She looks down to see the heroes enslaved by the Anti-Life Equation, the Green Lanterns collapsed and Elongated Man practically a puddle on the floor]
Violet: [gasps] Have to heal them.
Vic: Violet, wait! I know you want to fix this, but-
Violet: Yes. I remember. I've been repolarized. If I simply act on my instincts, I'll continue to enslave everyone to the Anti-Life Equation. But I can't leave him... any of them... like this. And I believe there is a way.
[Vic sees Granny starting to recover from her merging with Gretchen]
Vic: Better find it soon!
[Concentrating, Violet begins to glow violet, then all their colors until they're enveloped in a prismatic aura]
Vic: [awestruck] Rainbow power. Cool.
[And with one burst of energy this Rainbow power sweeps from outside the Orphanage and across the cosmos, doing away with the corrupted healing and the Anti-Life Equation]

Granny Goodness: Oh, child, please! Everything Granny did was for your own good. If you only knew what was coming, how pointless it was to fight, you would thank--
Violet: Enough! Your words are poison.
Granny Goodness: Insolent girl!
[Granny blasts out of the enclosed bubble with her Mega Rod and tries to blast Violet, who dodges out of the way and blasts her instead. Granny feebly tries to reach her Mega Rod but is blocked by Violet]
Violet: Life and free will have triumphed over Anti-Life. Remember, I know how to destroy the Ghost Dimension, so there's no point in rebuilding your device.
Superboy: Oh, and one other thing, if you're wondering how we found you, you can thank Vandal Savage. He sent us and wanted you to know.

Garfield: Vic! Violet! I knew you'd make it!
Vic: Good to be back.
Violet: Indeed, it is.
M'gann: There's more good news. The League will soon return to Earth with hundreds of rescued meta-teens.
Ed: Wow. The Taos Youth Center's going to need more beds. Maybe more buildings.
Garfield: And Granny?
Conner: She got away. But we've shut down her operation in space.
Vic: Plus, I got proof Gretchen Goode and Granny Goodness are one-in-the-same.
[He pulls up footage of Granny and Gretchen merging back into one]
Garfield: Dude! You M.V.P.'d this puppy!
Vic: Nah, man. Violet's the All-Star. She rescued everyone from the Anti-Life Equation.
Violet: Which would not have happened without your intervention, Victor. I agree with Garfield. You are the crusher of magic today.
Garfield: All in favor of Vic joining the Outsiders?
The Outsiders: Aye!
Cassie: And if Static were here, I know he'd vote "Aye" too!
Conner: Whoa, whoa. How 'bout asking whether that's something Vic wants?
Vic: Uh...
M'gann: If being a public hero is a concern, you're also welcome to join the Team.
Conner: But doing something heroic today does not obligate you to join the Team or the Outsiders.
[Vic considers this and looks over to Forager who just shrugs]
Vic: You know, when I played football, I was never afraid of the spotlight. Man, I sought it out. But this...This is in service of a better cause. So... I guess...I guess I'm an Outsider.
[The others cheer at this]
Geo-Force: Now you'll need a cryptonym, a, uh, nom de guerre.
Vic: You, uh, a what now?
Geo-Force: Your code-name. Any ideas? I believe "Hot Lava" is still available.
Vic: Uh, why would I-
Violet: That's what is called an inside joke. Choose whatever code-name suits you.
Vic: Hmm. For too long, I've been running from what I am. Who I am. It's time I embraced all my freakishness. I am Cyborg.
Garfield: Welcome to the Outsiders, Cyborg.

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

I've sometimes wondered whether the "Weird Macbeth" story would have included any allusions to the "Curse of the Scottish Play". (Certainly that element would have to have gotten into "Gargoyles" at some point, given the role of Macbeth and the Weird Sisters in the series.)
Todd Jensen

Well, having a gargoyle who hatched from an egg is certainly one way to get around the 'none of woman born' part of the prophecy checked off. But I wonder what the show would've done in place of Birnham Wood rising up. Maybe a more Tolkien take, the woods literally marching? Or maybe because that was Tolkein's spin, and well known through him, they'd have gone for something different.
Karrin Blue

MASTERDRAMON - Thanks for the link to that article. I was particularly amused at the revelation that Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis had originally tried out for Goliath and Elisa respectively - the fact that they'd *both* tried out for the heroes was what really made that stand out to me.

I also enjoyed another mention of the proposed "Weird Macbeth" story. I've wondered how much of the play would have actually made it into that story, had it been made. Much of that would have depended on how far into it Goliath would have managed to free everyone from the Weird Sisters' spell, of course. (There are a few elements in "Macbeth" that probably wouldn't have gotten in. A few of the Porter's remarks about certain effects of heavy drinking wouldn't have made it past Standards and Practices, and I suspect that the Hecate scenes - generally considered to have not been Shakespeare's but somebody else's - and the "King's Evil" speech would have probably wound up on the cutting-room floor, too.)

For that matter, I've wondered who'd have filled a few of the roles in the play. We know that Macbeth would have been playing himself (or his Shakespearean counterpart), Demona Lady Macbeth, Goliath Macduff, Elisa Lady Macduff, Hudson King Duncan, and presumably the Weird Sisters themselves. But I've wondered who'd have played the Porter, Malcolm, Banquo - and, most of all, Young Macduff (Macduff and Lady Macduff's son), given who'd be cast as his parents!

Todd Jensen

Conquest, War, Famine and Death.

The FOUR Horsemen

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

THREE is a magic number!
The sword is the tool of a soldier, one who fights at the behest of others, a servant to the Power. The scepter, on the other hand, this is the totem of a true ruler.

Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent!

BTW, read this article this morning and enjoyed it quite a bit:


Masterdramon - [kmc12009 at mymail dot pomona dot edu]
"I don't think anyone is born knowing the reason why they're here. It's just something you have to find as you go along." - Tohru Honda

Todd Jensen