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The Phoenix Gate

Comment Room Archive

Comments for the week ending July 11, 2021

Index : Show Images

But surely he wouldn't be the ONLY person involved with the Goode Goggles, they're a giant project. Even a single component would probably have a couple different people working on it. And I kinda figured that Granny herself had personally added in the metagene-scan and hypnosis functions, rather than leaving those to amateurs.

I guess it's another thing to ask about when the queue opens up.

Karrin Blue

I think Marlo got killed because Gretchen figured he was a loose end, being that he was involved in the development of Goode Goggles.
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Sorry, Brion, but the princess is on another island.

I can't quite remember if I thought the Red Hooded Ninja would come back this season or whether it was setup for later. I might've been unsure either way, too. Definitely I knew that the show likes to seed stuff in early to pay it off much later, so it wasn't too surprising that RHN turned out to be one of those seeds, especially once we got into the meat of the season and had enough subplots already in motion.

I do love this trio, though. Not only do they not have team training, like the Kid Flash-Robin-Aqualad trio, but they don't even have training as part of a duo with their mentors or a very good handle on their powers. It's interesting to see them really starting out from square one, especially as a contrast to the seasoned Team members. And, of course, their dynamic is pretty charming.

There's no way Ra's isn't planning on rejoining the Light eventually, right? I always took his 'I'm no longer part of the Light' thing to Dick as the equivalent of him being on grand-paternity leave. Especially with the asks about how he was Vandal's first choice of Light member, as a fellow immortal, he's definitely one to play the long game, and not think much of taking a ten- or even twenty-year hiatus to hone his chosen heir and stay out of the heroes' line of sight. And Vandal's certainly not one to think poorly of someone wanting to take a step back to raise their next generation. And, if that's the case, then keeping him updated on what's going on, who's who, and getting his insights as another expert seems only natural. Not to mention that he'd probably want to stay abreast of what the League of Shadows, specifically, was up to - I have to imagine he's planning on retaking control of them, too, once Damian's grown enough.

My read on the 'nuclear option' is that it's more about unprovoked escalation, rather than a blanket ban on killing heroes. Certainly the Light didn't mind sending two assassins after Ted Kord, and they don't seem to give their minions orders to avoid fatalities. I think they figure that, if a hero willfully gets themselves involved in a fight, whatever happens is fair game - but family members, or blowing secret identities, would be an escalation, and a change to the 'rules' of the game, so to speak. Someone can accept the risk that they'll get hurt or possibly die when they get into a superpowered brawl or sneak onto an island full of assassins, but no one expects there to be a risk in family members getting together for a playdate. So in that sense, Sensei might've felt Halo was fair game. Or he might've just lost his temper, as you say.

And hey, the first proper appearance of Tara! In silhouette, anyways. Back when this aired, I think I (and a lot of people) had figured that that lean-against-the-wall pose was out of the standard cool hard-as-nails playbook, but in retrospect, given some later episodes, my actual guess is she's having another panic attack. Given the flashbacks we get later, what she says to Brion in True Heroes, and how she immediately says that she had control over her actions when she killed Marlo, I think it's something that's weighing on her all season, and probably wasn't sure about doing even in the moment - certainly the flashbacks to her time with the Shadows give me the impression it was more about undermining her confidence in herself, rather than changing what she felt confident doing.

I do wonder why Marlo ended up on the slate for assassination at all, come to think of it. He doesn't seem to be acting like a man who expects he might have an assassin come after him, so he probably wasn't threatening to blow the whistle or anything. Maybe he was embezzling on the side, or something? Who knows, really.

Oracle's secrecy is pretty odd. My current guess is that, while people generally know she had to retire from Batgirling, Babs chose not to tell non-Batfamily that she'd started as Oracle, though I couldn't say why. Maybe she started that right around when the whole anti-Light scheme was getting cooked up, so they thought it'd be safer to have a member whose involvement wasn't known at all, rather than having her join just to leave later? Or maybe it hadn't really been a secret, just something she hadn't gotten around to telling the others, until the anti-Light plan got underway.

It's not just you that Black Spider has a more pronounced southern accent, but I think that's less Keaton changing his performance and more, he's putting on a mock-Antebellum-South thing. The "Black Spider, of the League of Shadows, Black Spider" is a stock line, at least if movies with wealthy characters from the South are anything to go on. No idea why he'd choose that joke in particular, but who knows what goes on in that guy's head.

Also, it's a little thing, but I still appreciate how (even though the Markovs are still the only geokinetics we know about) M'gann and Conner take the time to point out that there's lots of ways for a boulder to end up flattening someone. Even if we know there's only one real choice there, it'd be odd for the characters to jump to that same conclusion without thinking about alternatives. And that, "Get out." at the end, is still of my favorite jokes this season.

Karrin Blue

I always loved the Violet/Brion/Forager trifecta. They have such a great dynamic.

Thanks Todd, always appreciated. Next up is one of my favorite episodes not just of season 3 but for the series as a whole.
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

MATTHEW - Thanks for the latest review.
Todd Jensen

A trio is formed and learn a lesson about looking before leaping.

Watched "Rescue Op" today which closes out another episode trilogy. Looking at this season through one episode at a time rather than the three-episode format they were released gives me a new perspective of the show's pacing. When this episode premiered there was a lot of things at the end that grabbed the viewer's attention: the Red-Hooded Ninja, Ra's expanding family and the reveal about Halo's past and her decision for the future. All of this meant to get the audience excited for next week; but knowing what we know now, the really big stuff is more for the next season or beyond. What the episode does provide is a lot of interesting character interactions and some interesting points that will play into the season.

For starters, I have to bring up the beginnings of the Outsiders, I like that this episode calls back to several episodes from season 1. Like a trio of fresh, young characters getting in way over their heads when they disobey the orders of their elders. How their lack of training as a team really hinders what they attempt to accomplish and just how little they know what's going on. And the Trio's attempt at heroics don't go over well either, taking aside the fact that they're going in without a plan and not knowing a thing about the adversaries, there's also the fact that none of them are really prepared for any of what the Team does. Brion gets goaded by Sensei pretty easily, Violet is even worse at stealth than Superboy and Forager is so unsure of himself that he knows little of what he should do in social interactions much less combat situations.

But one thing I really enjoy about this episode is the dynamic between Brion, Violet and Forager. For starters, the latter two both bring their own fish-out-of-water quirkiness and for an impulsive hot-head, Brion plays an excellent straight man. Plus I love his sheer enthusiasm at meeting a real alien (discounting M'gann and Conner of course) and we'll see plenty more of this kind of fanboyism. What they lack in cohesion they do make up for in comradery and everyone has to start somewhere, though as this series has shown recklessness doesn't exactly pay off. Plus I do love the moment when Nightwing realizes he's turning into the stuffy adult.

But as was spelled out in "Welcome to Happy Harbor" even failure can be informative as success as this is the episode where we learn about Ra's al Ghul not only has left his leadership from the League of Shadows, but his place within the Light as well, a fact not even Nightwing was aware of. While the obvious answer is that he's stepping aside for personal reasons given that he rather recently became a grandfather, but I can't help but wonder if there's another reason to it as well. We see that he and his immediate companions are still connected enough to know about Brion's situation and his connection to the heroes. And as we'll see later on, Ra's doesn't mind sharing information with the Light; it sort of feels like that Ra's has maybe stepped aside from the more obvious spotlight that the Light had and could once more work within the shadows. And considering the son of Batman is usually depicted as blindsiding everyone, there may be something to that...

Some Final Thoughts: We get another Halo kill, death by broken neck. Actually this brings up another point, the villains know about the odd trio and their connection to the heroes, did Sensei really believe there wouldn't be repercussions for rather needlessly killing Halo? The "nuclear button" will come up soon enough but I'll just chalk this up as Sensei escalating things without reason, like with what he did with Brion. I'll talk about this more in the future, but Halo rejecting the name of Gabrielle Daou after another unpleasant memory resurfaces will be important. One thing that was brought up was what reason the Shadows gave to convince Tara to kill Jaqqar Marlo. Given his connection to Goode World and that Gretchen was able to stave off the media by throwing his corpse to the wolves, I'd say it stands to reason that he was plenty dirty and undoubtedly involved in meta-human trafficking. All they had to do is feed her a line about him being involved in Bedlam and I'm sure she'd be willing to Wile E. Coyote him.

Here's where we also have confirmation that the heroes have no idea about Dick's connection to Oracle, not sure why he felt the need t make it secret. We see that Black Spider has really leaned into the Spider-Man allusion, but is it just me or does he have a more pronounced southern accent this episode? One little detail I liked was Superboy's glare when Sensei was seen wielding Rako's sword from the comics, seems he remembers that cut. Also, pretty sure Sensei was wearing some form of protection from the extreme heat. Pain may be an illusion, but 2000 degrees Fahrenheit sure isn't. And finally, Nightwing's line about Ra's not being a liar is a bit ironic considering his introduction was all about him staging a false assassination attempt on Luthor.

Acting MVP: Keone Young is a veteran actor and doesn't always get the praise he deserves, but he does a subtly intimidating performance as the Sensei this episode. Ra's al Ghul may be a more gentlemanly villain, but everything about the Sensei screams murderous.

DC Profiles: The Sensei dates back to the old days of "Strange Adventures" back when he was the head of the Society of Assassins. Later on it was revealed that he was actually the father of Ra's al Ghul, which makes little sense giving that Ra's is generally depicted as being from the Eurasian steppes and Sensei being Japanese.

Favorite Lines:

Black Spider: Well someone certainly needs to watch it. I bruise so easily.
Jaqqar: Who-
Black Spider: Oh where are my manners? We haven't been formally introduced. My name is Black Spider, of the League of Shadows' Black Spiders. And I have a very special message to deliver to mister Jaqqar Marlo.
Jaqqar: I-I don't know any Jaqqar Marlo.
Black Spider: I think you do, Jaq. See, I've been waiting out here just for you, for hours. Now, I don't begrudge. In fact, I hope you danced up a storm, had a few drinks, kissed a girl! You deserve all that, Jaq, because this is your last night on Earth. [Jaqqar throws his Goode Goggles at Black Spider and flees in panic] Oh. Why do they always run? Do I need better quips?
[Jaqqar runs off from the pursuing assassin and hides in-between two buildings; catching his breath he sees Black Spider looking around for him]
Black Spider: Whheerree's Jaqqy?
[Black Spider web-slings away and a relieved Jaqqar comes out of his hiding spot chuckling to himself. He sees a shadow looming over him and looks up just in time to be crushed by a gigantic boulder]

Forager: But how will Forager speak to them? Uh, Forager does not speak human language. Oh, and Mother Box is not here to translate Forager's words.
M'gann: I downloaded our language into your brain.
Forager: Miss Martian taught Miss Martian's language to Forager?
Conner: Everything but the pronouns apparently.
M'gann: [Elbows him] His people have an extremely complex sense of self. They don't have much use for pronouns.

Brion: So, you're an alien? I can't believe I'm meeting a real alien!
M'gann: Uh, hello? I'm from Mars. And Conner's half Kryptonian.
Brion: Yes, of course, but Forager is a real alien!
Forager: Brion is the alien to Forager.
Brion: (chuckles) Well, you would think that, wouldn't you?
M'gann: [sighs] Forager's life was in danger on New Genesis, so we brought him here for his own protection.
Forager: Forager is in exile from Forager's home.
Brion: From one exile to another, welcome to Earth.

Halo: We're on a mission. A rescue mission, correct?
Brion: Yes, of course. But Halo, please-
Halo: And that's my mission name. Halo. I like it, but I think I need a secret identity name, too. Like how Artemis is Tigress on a mission, but Artemis at home.
Forager: Forager is Forager.
Halo: All right. But at home, I think I'll be Violet. It's what you called me, Brion.
Brion: What? When?
Halo: You don't remember?
Brion: Violet-
Halo: No, I'm Violet at home. Here, I'm Halo.

Superboy: I can't believe this. They've only been living in here five minutes and it's already a mess!
Miss Martian: You're sure they went to Infinity Island?
Nightwing: The one place we very specifically told them not to go? Yep.
Miss Martian: Well, what goes around comes around.
Nightwing: What's that supposed to mean?
Conner: Uh, "Cadmus" ring any bells?
Nightwing: Oh, man. I hate being the grown-up.

Ra's al Ghul: Enough. Well, young man. Are you proud of this little debacle? I believe the detective would be quite disappointed. [Nightwing growls] I assume you came to recover these children? Take them and go.
Brion: Not without my sister, Tara Markov. We know the League of Shadows has her!
Sensei: Stay your tongue when addressing the Demon's Head.
Ra's al Ghul: It is fine, Sensei. [to Brion] Boy, the Shadows may indeed have your sister, but I'm no longer head of the Shadows. As you can see, there are no Shadows here. In fact, I'm no longer part of the Light.
[Nightwing's eyes widen at this revelation]
Brion: He lies!
Nightwing: Ra's al Ghul is many things, but a liar isn't one of them.
Artemis: Would the great one care to reveal who is running the Shadows now?
Ra's al Ghul: No, he would not.
Artemis: It's not my dad, is it?
Ra's al Ghul: [chuckles softly] No.
Artemis: [chuckles] My sister?
Ra's al Ghul: [Flatly] Get out.
[As the heroes depart in the Bio-Ship, Talia al Ghul steps out from the shadows, holding a baby. And the Red-Hooded Ninja slips his hood down]
Red-Hooded Ninja: Gray...Son
Ra's al Ghul: Ah, your memory is finally returning. Excellent.

Brion: I...apologize. I know this whole mess was my fault.
Superboy: It happens. Once upon a time, I had to rescue Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad too.
Halo: Who?
Forager: Forager met Kid Flash.
Nightwing: That was a different Kid!...[sighs] Never mind. Let's make one thing clear. We are not happy. You stole Sphere, disobeyed direct orders, and endangered your lives. You will not be doing this again.
Brion: I know I made mistakes. Big mistakes! But please, I need your help. I'm not ready to walk away.
Halo: Neither am I.
Forager: Forager rolls with Forager's Hive.
Miss Martian: Forager, there's still a place for you on the Team.
Forager: Forager has chosen Halo and Brion as Forager's Hive. Also Bio-Ship, especially Bio-Ship.
Brion: I do not believe any of us would fit inside your Team.
Halo: But we can remain outside together.
Nightwing: That's the commitment we were lookin' for.
Brion: Does that mean-?
Nightwing: Yep! We'll find a way to make it work. To make this work.
Superboy: And just like that, you're leading another team.
Nightwing: [Groans] Please don't rub it in.
Artemis: Oh, Halo! I almost forgot. We found out who you are. Your real name is Gabrielle. Gabrielle Daou.
[Halo flashes back to where Gabrielle is getting her passport approved by a surly looking customs agent]
Agent: Daou, Gabrielle. You are approved to enter Markovia. Though why we allow it is beyond me.
[As Gabrielle exits Customs, she's almost hit by a glass bottle thrown by an unpleasant Markovian man]
Markovian: Quraci! Go Home!
[As he spits at her, Halo flashes back to the present]
Halo: No. I'm not Gabrielle. My name is Violet.

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

And a thought occurred to be between some comics and some related articles plus the discussion on which characters you want to see in YJ.

Now between the subtitle for Season 4 and the suggestion/possibility of the [SPOILER] Legion of Super Heroes [/SPOILER], I'm wondering if they might either throw flashbacks to Clark's youth or through Conner adapt [SPOILER] The arrival of Lar Gand/Mon-El and have him being weakened severely and needing to be placed in the Phantom Zone [/SPOILER].

If that's the case, kind of interesting as in Season 2 of the LoSH series [SPOILER] Weisman wrote Part 2 of the Season Premiere, which featured Superman-X who allegedly was an expy of Mon-El [/SPOILER].


As an aside, regardless of there not being a reference in the associated series, wonder if any of the clan would happily read The Good Witch Azura.

Heck, think any of them for good or ill would be a shipper:-D?


A lot of the ones I've been pondering are either already in the queue, outright spoilers, or something I'm happier leaving with some ambiguity for now, but I do sort of want to know if Tara had been given some pretense for why Jaqqar Marlo was to be killed, or if it was more of a 'because you have orders to kill him' obedience test thing. Though I suppose even that might be spoilers.
Karrin Blue

I know I'd like to ask Greg if he's aware of the "Gargoyles" allusions in the series finale of "Duck Tales" and the Season Two finale of "Amphibia", and if so, what he thinks of them.
Todd Jensen

Wow, down to 750... obviously however many get answered is fine, this is something done in free time and there's no obligation or anything, but I am a bit excited to think that, if we keep getting these 80-odd batches of answers, the queue would be empty in ten-ish sessions - probably fewer since some of these are probably going to be filtered out for repetition or being against the rules. I'll have to figure out some new questions to add in... does anyone have any they've been saving up?
Karrin Blue

Greg Weisman's just answered a lot more questions at "Ask Greg". My favorite answer was when he listed the kinds of television programs the different gargoyles like the most, and stated that Bronx likes anything muted. (It reminded me of the scene in "Awakening Part Four" where Bronx growls at the dog food commercial.)

(I've sometimes wondered, if Bronx was in the room when an episode of "Scooby-Doo" was playing, and the sound was on, how he'd respond to Fred's voice. :) )

Greg also mentioned, when asked about Macbeth's religious beliefs, that he'd paid a visit once to the Pope (an actual piece of history, by the way).

Todd Jensen

Yeah, and I think people sometimes forget that the non-violent protests of the Civil rights movement were a tactic - it wasn't just some abstract ideal, it was a strategy to take advantage of the burgeoning news media, and how it could share images of patient, outwardly calm people being attacked and use those to incite others to pressure for change. Without the rise in news, and reporters who would spread the story, and an audience who'd be moved to actually put pressure on the government for change, it wouldn't have worked - but it was a smart use of those factors, since they had them. And even then, it was very risky and dangerous, people had to be specially, intensely trained to keep their cool. It didn't just happen, they worked at it.
Karrin Blue

KARRIN> I agree there is, in modern cultural discourse, a distressing tendency to equate "non-violence" with "non-resistance". For my money, if no one is complaining about your protest then you're doing it wrong. ;)

In more comicsy news, though, it does look like over the next few months DC is going to start putting out more comics with the classic Milestone characters - Static, Hardware, and Icon and Rocket.

Also, I was reading the Urban Legends comic, and there was a mini-arc with the Outsiders (that is, the classic Outsiders, Black Lightning, Katana, and Metamorpho.) Towards the end they talk about their team composition - and how they mean to ask Duke Thomas to join - but also mention a fifth member, who'll pull the whole squad together... and then it ends with a 'see in fall of 2021!' Tag. It might be premature, but I do hope they mean to make that mystery character Halo, and to import the YJ version. Well, I can hope, anyways.

Karrin Blue

Well, I think the issue is more or less twofold.

Firstly, while M'gann's work with the team is important, and does help, I wouldn't really consider it activist work, or comparable to it. The Team's work is fundamentally reactive, responding to events already underway, and it's also (obviously) secret, whereas activism generally happens in the public eye, and continually pushes for change on a systemic level (though it may amp up as a reaction to egregious events.) So I don't think M'gann's work with the Team and League right now is comparable - even the meta trafficking we see doesn't seem to be happening on a systemic level, it's specific bad actors.

And then secondly... while for M'gann's personal arc, it's certainly accurate to call that her choosing to act from love rather than her desire for revenge, there's a larger connotation? That is, at least from my memory, when the media was discussing the protests we had over the last several years, there was a very marked tendency to criticize protestors and say that they should choose love over anger - however, rather than being about personal motivation, it was about rhetoric and method. In other words, that protestors - who had often been terrorized for most of their lives, or who had lost family members - were in the wrong for saying outright that they were angry, or that the system had been stacked against them and that that had been done intentionally, and that they - who had had to teach their children that not being conciliatory enough could get them killed - should have tried being nicer. If you remember that extremely tone deaf soda commercial, the one where some celebrity wanders out into the middle of a protest and hands everyone brand soda, and then they're all friends? That's something of the connotation I have for someone saying "Choose love over anger" in this context. And, of course, while the Martians are fictional aliens from a fictional alien society, they on some level are a metaphor for this kind of discrimination, and I don't think it's incorrect to analyze how this reflects back on the real life groups the writers are drawing on.

Also, with regard to the dialogue, "Now you are the oppressor" and "Forager is a race traitor now" do not come off as 'formal', they come off as more than a little heavy handed, at least from my perspective. And I have to say, while M'gann spoke more formally in season 1, it does seem like that was because she was speaking in a second language; she and M'comm don't come off as formal in their telepathy otherwise. And being formal doesn't mean blunt, anyways - usually it's just the opposite. It feels like a line from a children's show, where everything has to be spelled out.

And meanwhile for Forager, again, I think that because 'race traitor' is such an extremely loaded term, having a bug alien with a silly voice (even a very sympathetic one) say it is... distractingly absurd. I don't know, to me at least, it came off less as a line that was in there because it improved the story and more to show that they weren't under Standards and Practices anymore. And, like some of the violence we're going to see with Halo later, more than a little gratuitous.

The 'superstitious and cowardly lot' line was pretty funny, though.

Karrin Blue

Incidentally, I also got a smile from M'comm's remark, in the Quotes section, about Green Martians being "a superstitious and cowardly lot".
Todd Jensen

Thanks Todd, and yeah, Green Beetle's Martian name being B'arzz O'oomm is pretty much a shout-out to the John Carter series.

Karri> My own interpretation of M'gann's comment of choosing love over hate is in reference to her "eye for an eye" attitude she indulged in last season and what became of her because of it. She nearly ruined her relationship with Conner forever over it, almost destroyed Kaldur's mind and became depressed and near suicidal over her guilt. Now she's not fighting the racial prejudices on Mars, but that doesn't mean she's not fighting other forms of oppression such as meta-human trafficking or against the forces of Apokolips.

As for the dialogue, I noticed besides the more formal style done by the citizens of New Genesis, Martian Manhunter also speaks in a similar manner. Personally, I feel the Martian language comes off as a bit more formal to us than it would be for them.

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

ALGAE - Thanks for sharing that with me.

And, looking at other depictions of Mars in classic science fiction, we had Robin's "War of the Worlds" reference to Miss Martian getting ill from Earth germs in Season One (the episode where they were undercover in the circus that Robin's family was part of)

Todd Jensen

With whatever the magic subplot is, and the Legion, and whatever the consequences of the trip M'gann and Conner and J'onn and Gar set off on in the radio play are, and the, ahem, Red-Hooded Ninja, I'll be surprised if there's time to go to Mars and do that in any real depth, but we might get updates on their situation in passing. Though who knows, really.

Also, let's be real: he could be all three at once. Depending on how many years were between his birth and M'gann's, he might actually be a Martian teenager, and the whole 'name yourself after a wild animal to sound badass' thing doesn't give me a good estimation of his maturity. Like a 15 year old trying to call themself Wolf or Fox or something.

Karrin Blue

KARRIN> I really hope Young Justice: Phantoms does give us a better look at the socio-political situation on Mars-16. It's something that's overdue for a deep dive.

M'comm's talk of overthrowing oppressors is wildly ironic given his unnamed employer is almost certainly Darkseid, the literal God of Tyranny. He's either naive, deluded or a brazen hypocrite.

“I like you, Glorious Godfrey! You’re a shallow, precious child — the Revelationist — happy with the sweeping sound of words! But I am the Revelation! The Tiger-Force at the core of all things! When you cry out in your dreams — it is Darkseid that you see!”

Well, this'll make for some interesting payoff later...

Definitely agree on the New Genesis redesigns. The Fourth World aesthetic always makes for some great designs - I still adore the Forever People's costumes, they're so shiny and bright compared to the more subdued and practical team designs. Fitting for young gods (actually, one of my little hopes for S4 is that Halo's timeskip costume will have more Fourth World touches. I mean, she already lights up like a spotlight whenever she uses her powers, so why not look good doing it?) Dark, alien, but beautiful is a great note to hit for these guys. And, of course, Bear is back! I do wish he'd had more to do, but with it being a M'gann focus episode and there being a good half dozen Team members along for the ride, there wasn't much room for it.

Forager really is delightful in this show. Jason Spisak does an amazing job, I still can't believe he can just do those little click noises. I thought for sure they'd been added in or sound-edited, but no, apparently not. I also think it's interesting to see an alien from a hive society where that's not heavily focused on oppressive conformity (insofar as we get to see it.) Forager is a drone, a helper and gatherer, but his role isn't inherently worse compared to being a warrior, just different. It's also nice to see a character who's set up as more of a peacekeeper and caretaker who's male, since usually that's somewhat gendered.

...though it is a little weird because, with insects, my main association with 'drones' is bees, where their job is somewhat different from Forager's.

Honestly, I have to say I thought M'gann's argument with M'comm was rather clunky. I'm still figuring out how I want to word how I feel about it, so I might add thoughts later, but it boils down to being an argument about activism, and methods for it, between two characters who aren't really activists, without us really seeing much of the Green/Red/White conflict and how it affects Mars as a society. M'comm's an angry brat (who, depending on how much younger he is than M'gann, might actually be a teenager by Martian standards) whose actions on New Genesis seem only tenuously related to Mars (to say nothing of whether he's even involved with a larger movement back there, or if he's a revolutionary cell of one). On the other hand, M'gann at this point doesn't seem very interested in changing things on Mars at all. She's built a life on Earth for herself, become a hero, found a new family - but that also means that she's got hers, and doesn't seem to be doing much to affect change back home for others who couldn't move to a whole other planet, or have much intent to. There's another discussion to be had about how much someone who's suffered in an oppressive system is obligated to stay in an attempt to fix it - you bring up WW2 vets who just stayed overseas - but it does make 'you should fight with love' more hollow when M'gann isn't actually fighting this fight at all.

Also, I have to say, the writing of the argument itself does feel pretty clunky. "Now you are the oppressor"? I mean, I know sometimes you're writing something, and you know it could be better, but you're out of time and you just have to finalize what you have, but I wish the dialogue here had just been handled a bit more deftly. Forager calling himself a race traitor, too - I remember that got groans from the group I was watching with. It's just such a loaded, specific term that it coming up here just... feels very awkward and a bit forced.

I have to agree on most of what you're saying about poor... I think their names are Armor and Blister? And Plasmus. I could've sworn that the group rescued from Klarion in Cuba included characters with weirder, more radically mutated designs, but actually they're all still clearly humanoids, maybe with giant hands or lizard features, but nothing like these three.

And cynical read aside, I do actually find it pretty disheartening for a character's humanity to be so closely tied to their physical appearance - even if their mind is the same, losing a pretty face becomes something worth dying over. What makes a character human isn't their body or appearance, it's their mind, their heart, what they care about and how they care. That's why characters like M'gann, or Red Tornado, or the Thing work - what makes someone a person is almost entirely unrelated to what they look like. And, at its worst, this trope can go to some very ableist places - people might not actually turn into lava-monsters, but disfiguring accidents or congenital conditions do, and it can be pretty harmful to say that only people who look a certain way have humanity.

Though, unlike the Mars issue (where seeing it firsthand would probably involve a dedicated, multi-episode subplot where several characters were stuck there), this at least seems like it could be pretty straightforward to do better with. In X-men comics, it's usually not hard to look through crowd shots and find someone who's a giant mass of scales, or a skeleton floating in goo, or a bunch of vines. Populating crowd shots of the Taos center with characters like that could be a way of establishing that people who have been radically changed are still people, still children in many cases, who deserve community and respect.

...the kid designs of the Martians are still pretty darn cute, though.

I don't have much to add about the B-plot? I do like that bit about Artemis being annoyed at Dick, because although we'll see in detail the big, dramatic consequences of the secret-keeping anti-Light plot, we're also seeing the little, inconvenient ones. If Oracle's involvement had already been known, no one would've had any issue with Dick asking her to handle looking for Violet; that sort of search is right up her alley, and even if someone promises to do something, then them asking another friend who's much more skilled at it to help is entirely normal. But, since that has to be a secret, he comes off as a flake. It's a more low-key version of what kicks off that fight with Brion in a few episodes - even though the search for Tara was underway, Batman's involvement being secret meant that even basic status updates couldn't be shared, and Brion (understandably) got annoyed at getting nothing but vagaries. Also, while I feel like Dick's promise to find Tara was a desperation move on his part, I also feel like Brion would've ended up dead in a ditch if he was completely on his own at this stage. Frankly I'd be saying whatever popped into my head too, just from concern over how badly that could turn out. I also think Gregor is making the right call in focusing on the Quraci refugees - it feels awful for Brion, but ultimately there are more of them in need of more immediate help and stability. I think Brion knows that, intellectually, it's not right for a king to put a single person over people in need of help, but it's very bitter when that single person is you.

Karrin Blue

Huh... forgot Des.
Out of the silent planet, dreams of decimation. Out of the silent planet, come the demons of creation.

TODD> Actually, you're more right than you know. According to John Ostrander, who co-created Ma'alefa'ak/Malefic for the '90s Martian Manhunter comic, the native name for Mars is indeed Ma'aleca'andra.
Out of the silent planet, dreams of decimation. Out of the silent planet, come the demons of creation.

MATTHEW - Thanks for another insightful review.

When I saw the name "Ma'alefa'ak" as the name of a Martian predator (whose form Megan's brother was adopting, I gathered), it reminded me of "Malacandra" the name of Mars in C. S Lewis's "Out of the Silent Planet" - or at least, the opening syllables did. I don't know if there was some influence there or not; you mentioned in an earlier review another Martian name bearing a striking resemblance to "Barsoom", but the latter part of the name looks different - and the alternate spelling you mentioned later suggests that whoever at DC Comics came up with the name might have been thinking of "malefic" instead and that the similarity is just a coincidence.

Todd Jensen

"It's a lot of names."
"They're not just names. It's important we remember that. We have to remember."

Watched "Away Mission" today which brings us a not-so-touching family reunion, our first look at New Genesis and a new stray brought into the fold. I rather like the depiction of New Genesis here, a little dark and alien but also ethereally beautiful at the same time. I even think I like it better than the golden spire design from Jack Kirby, it sort of looked too similar to his previous depictions of Asgard and Attilan. One thing the series also did well was making sure to include the Bugs, a native species to New Genesis, rather than solely focusing on the New Gods as most adaptations have done.

Forager was another character nobody predicted would join up with the Team and I was quite surprised by his inclusion; we'll see more of this later on but for now I'll just say that it will be refreshing to have a character with a distinctly non-human viewpoint, even more so than M'gann. Unfortunately Forager also learns a rather harsh lesson today, that in times of high tempers and rising prejudices, the last thing the angry want is the words of peace keepers or any attempt at diffusing tensions. It's a harsh truth that anger is addictive and when the angry can't direct their rage at their enemies, they'll direct it towards the ones who don't align with their views. Basically becoming a case of "with us or against us" combined with "How dare you not be as outraged as I am!"

Speaking of anger, that brings us to Ma'alefa'ak aka M'comm M'orzz. It's funny that M'gann's Martian family is referenced as being quite large but brought up so rarely that his appearance becomes a surprise. One thing that stood out to me is the situation that both M'gann and her brother are in, she having left Mars and the bigotry that she faced behind when she left for Earth while he was still there and was radicalized because of it. In some ways it reminds me of the situation many black Americans faced following the end of WWII, many veterans remained in Europe rather return to the Jim Crow laws in the states. And yet others remained, fighting for civil rights for decades to come. Which decision was right isn't something that's easy to determine.

M'gann states the M'comm will become no better than the oppressive Green or Red Martians by following this path, but the darker truth of things is that he's actually become even worse than that. His disparaging remarks to other species shows his own bigotry despite being on the receiving end of it. Despite his insistence that he's doing this to encourage the Bugs to overthrow their New God "oppressors" (we don't yet know the relationship between the two people) he has no problem using his meta-human slaves to potentially kill them if it nudges them to violence. And then he brutally kills his assets for no other reason than to take his anger out on his sister. It's rather appropriate that during the mind link he takes the form of the Ma'alefa'ak while devouring the Green because that is what he's become. Not a symbol to strike fear into the hearts of his oppressors, but a rabid animal lashing out at everything around him.

Now for a topic I've wanted to talk about since Plasmus' rather abrupt end but figured it would be best to save it for this episode, and that's the common narrative trope of people warped into inhuman monsters dying abruptly and rather dramatically. I'll try to be brief but there's so many cases of this that it starts to become uncomfortable. To put it thusly, in many forms of media characters who have been transformed or were born/created as inhuman monsters have only two choices for them: live on as villainous monsters or die reaffirming their humanity. I guess it's far easier to just have the character die rather than explore what life will be like after they've lost their humanity, and the more cynical could argue that after such a transformation, death is a more dignified mercy for them. But seeing Giant and Blister and the horrific forms they've taken and how casually they're killed, it seems the only dignity they've been given is when M'gann levitates their bodies like a pallbearer to be brought back to Earth. Their names and identities unknown.

In the recent film Superman: Man of Tomorrow the character of Parasite was a friendly guy before his transformation where in turned into monster driven mad by his hunger and only slightly aware of his life beforehand and his family. The movie ends with him sacrificing his life to save Metropolis from a nuclear meltdown, but that's hardly a comfort to his family nor to himself whose last moments were as an unintelligible creature. Compare that to other incarnations of the Parasite who act as irredeemable villains. Heck how many villains exist in comics exist because the plot dictates that they can't go back to normal? Despite all the nonsense science that can be whipped up for other reasons. So it feels like keeping them monsters or just killing them off is done for convenience by the writers rather than being organically done.

This sort of thing goes all the way back to Frankenstein and it doesn't look like it's going to be going away any time soon. So I may be incorrect, but every rescued meta-human from here on out will possess at least some semblance of humanity left, at least more than the von Furth siblings and Giant and Blister did from this episode. And while the series does explore the trauma many of the kidnapped teens went through, the sheer loss of humanity isn't something that will be explored. And that is a shame because there's so much that could be done there. It brings to mind The Thing from Marvel, a man who remained a hero even after losing near all his humanity. And yet despite the fact he remains one of the most well-liked heroes in the Marvel universe, despite his steady relationship with Alicia Masters, and despite the fact that his godchildren love and adore him. That depression creeps back in every time he looks in the mirror and remembers what he's lost.

Some Final Thoughts: A lot of the humor this episode comes from the bits of training Brion and Halo get this episode, and another one of Halo's powers, yellow for energy blasts. But at the same time there are little touches of drama that will become important later on. Like Artemis' displeasure over the fact that Dick hasn't actually been looking into finding Halo's identity despite him promising to do that. And there's Brion feeling lost and aimless after his lack of success in controlling his powers and the fact that Gregor all but states he won't be coming home soon, so much so that he's even planning on leaving. We see touches of future character interactions when Conner suggests that Brion needs a direction and a purpose while Dick rather quickly blurts out that they'll help him find his sister. This quick interjection and why Dick suggested it will be explored later on. And Brion's training and the "help" that accompanied it reminded me so much of the help like, "Don't forget to concentrate. Make sure that you concentrate. Are you remembering to concentrate? Why aren't you concentrating?"

With a lot of the focus this season being on the eventual Outsiders and the future Anti-Light, this is a rare episode that gives some focus to the Team. While they will be of importance later on, it won't be to the extent that we saw in seasons 1 and 2. And unfortunately a lot of the newer heroes won't get quite the same focus either. Orion being prejudiced against the Bugs is actually lifted from the comics, he lost a friend to them during a raid, and the Bugs raid because the New Gods viewed them as inferior. Oh and I mentioned this when I first saw this, but this marks the second time Lauren Tom has played a DC magic user whose powers have been changed to being about causing bad luck.

Acting MVP: This is another episode where the cast really brings their all. Greg's whiny "My trees!" was pretty hilarious. Ben Diskin is almost unrecognizable when playing "Orion" and M'comm sounds so much like the roles he had in Kids Next Door, except evil. And I'm so glad Jason Spisak was kept around even with Wally out of the picture. I've seen several animated series drop their actors after their characters are killed off and the show is all the poorer for it.

DC Profiles: Traci Thurston aka Traci 13, is a character from Blue Beetle's series. Her mother a member of the Homo Magi and her father (ironically enough) a noted magic skeptic. Her power of "urban magic" gave her the ability to manipulate the city itself. She and Jaime became a couple and though she declined to join the Teen Titans (feeling their relationship would get in the way) she remained a staunch ally.

Ma'alefa'ak, often shortened to Malefic, is an enemy of Martian Manhunter, in fact he's his twin brother. Malefic was ostracized by the other Martians because of his weakness to fire and lack of telepathy. He in turn engineered a virus that wiped out all of the Martians save his brother.

Favorite Lines:

Bear: Hail Earthlings! New Genesphere! Wolf! And Superboy! [Bear delivers a bear hug to Conner]
Conner: [grunting] It's uh, good to see you too Bear. [Conner has to push him off as Bear laughs heartily] Uh, this is Lucas and Brion. And you remember my fiancée Megan.
Bear: [excitedly] She is to be your mate? A cause for celebration!...If only we had time.

Miss Martian: Conner's needed here. Hope you're okay with me instead.
Bear: As long as I have an Earthling's help, all is well.
Miss Martian: Actually, I'm not...uh, never mind. You'll have plenty...
[The scene cuts to El Paso where Jaime, Bart and Traci are chilling in Jaime's room, Traci watching Space Trek 3016]
Jaime: All I'm saying, there's no sound is space. The physics of this show are so messed up.
Traci: Who watches for the physics?

Mr. Carr: Hmm, didn't know there were G designations.
Dick: There aren't, not officially. But see, when Jeff resigned from the League, Kaldur had to revoke his access. And Halo and Brion never had it.
Mr. Carr: So you hacked the Justice League computer.
Dick: I hacked the Justice League computer.

Kid Flash: It's so moded Robin's not here for the whole detective thing. He'd pick up on all the clues.
Wonder Girl: [Scoffs] Fewer than you'd think.
Miss Martian: Tell me about it. Super-hearing, super-sight, super-oblivious.
Static: Oh, so boys are bad. Got it.

[Brion walks around outside while Halo floats alongside him until Brion pulls her down]
Brion: Stop that.
Halo: You seem broken. I feel the need to fix you.
Brion: Ex-cuse me?

Mr. Carr: [about Halo and Brion] They both have meta powers. Why not put them on the Team?
Artemis: Uh, meta powers aren't required for that.
Dick: And they're not a free ticket to join either. Besides, everyone on the team wants to be a hero. I'm not sure Brion or Halo does.
Conner: Plus, we don't need another Red Arrow incident. Can't give Watchtower access to a girl with no memory. She could be brainwashed. Might let in the bad guys.
Mr. Carr: Uh, brainwashing isn't required for that. I kinda, sorta, accidentally led the Joker to Mount Justice when I was their age.

Dick: Okay, that rock's your target. Remember, it's precision test. Hit it, don't obliterate it.
Brion: I know.
Mr. Carr: And please, be careful of my trees.
[Brion starts summoning up molten earth around his arm]
Conner: Easy now, this is about control.
Brion: I know.
Dick: Visualize where you want it to go.
Brion: I Know!
[Brion launches a sad amount of lava that doesn't even get halfway to the rock, frustrated he swings again and again with no effect until in frustration he summons up a coat of red hot earth over himself as the ground starts shaking]
Conner: Uh, Dick? We might want to-
Dick: Noted.
[The onlookers duck for cover as Brion slams the ground in frustration as a fount of lava springs forth, splashing some of the apple trees and burning them]
Mr. Carr: My trees!
[As the others collet themselves they see Brion has burned off all his clothes, Jeff respectfully turns his head and Artemis shields Halo's eyes]
Brion: [Noticing his nakedness and covers himself] AAAH! Mother of God! [Halo floats over to see him] Don't look!
Halo: Don't be upset. You are nicely shaped. Your form isn't the part of you that's broken.
Brion: Ex-cuse me?!
Halo: Rest. I'll test my powers now.
Mr. Carr: Uh, here kid. [Tosses his coat over Brion's head]

Artemis: Whoa. Okay, that's new.
Halo: [Noticing that she's now glowing yellow] I don't understand. I cannot seem to make a shield or fly? What is wrong with me now? Am I broken too?
Brion: [Offscreen] EX-CUSE ME?!

M'comm: The Greens are a superstitious and cowardly lot. The Ma'alefa'ak scares them. So let them be scared by me. You know it's what they call us behind our backs anyway.

Brion: I hope you are all right, um, Violet. I'm sorry, but I cannot stay. You take care of yourself.
Halo: Don't go.
[Brion goes to leave]
Dick: Wait, we want to help you. Give you whatever it is you need.
Brion: [sighs] I don't know what it is I need.
Conner: Direction. Purpose. A clear goal.
Dick: We'll help you find your sister!
[Brion stops an lets his bag fall]
Brion: For Tara...I will stay.

[Inside the Mindscape M'gann in her Megan form confronts M'comm]
M'comm: Look at you. This is how you perceive yourself? You've never fully embraced being a White Martian!
M'gann: This isn't about me. [Shapeshifts into her Martian form] It's about you. You can't win through hate.
M'comm: Care to bet on that? [Blasts at his sister whose form vanishes]
M'gann: Yes. Please M'comm. [She rematerializes now surrounding her younger brother] I'm stronger, but I have no desire to hurt you.
[The M'gann copies swarm over him and he now finds himself back on Mars, his sister appearing as she did when she was a child]
M'gann: Remember what we meant to each other.
M'comm: [Also resembling a child] I remember more than you. [A rock suddenly hits him across the face, it was thrown by a Green Martian] How the Greens treated us and how you defended us. [M'gann stops more rocks from being thrown at them] But a war isn't won on defense. [M'comm shapeshifts into The Ma'alefa'ak and brutally attacks the Green] It's won by giving reign to our righteous anger.
M'gann: No. [The mindscape shifts again, showing sunny Happy Harbor in the days before Mount Justice was destroyed, M'gann now in her Miss Martian form]
M'gann: I've chosen love over anger. [Pictures from her scrapbook appear and with them the forms of her friends: Kaldur, Artemis, Wally, Zatanna, Dick, Conner, Wolf, J'onn, Garfield and Marie] M'comm, there are better ways to change minds, on Earth, on Mars and here on New Genesis.
M'comm: [Shapeshifting back to his Martian form] Can you...teach me?
[M'gann approaches and her brother attempts to blast her once more, only for it to be blocked by the image of Conner]
M'gann: It seems I cannot.
[M'gann flashes a brilliant light, knocking him out of the mindscape]
Miss Martian: It is over.
M'comm: Is it? Your love makes you weak sister. And easy to hurt. [To the captured Metas] Failsafe Omega. Die!
M'gann: No. No!
[Giant and Blister violently spasm and convulse before perishing to the shock of the heroes]
M'comm: [To Forager] This is your fault little Bug. I see in your mind you brought them here. If I see you again, I'll crush you like the pest you are. [Ma'alefa'ak density shifts through the ground and out of sight. Mantis gets up and smacks Forager across the face]
Mantis: Forager is a race traitor. Forager has no place in the Hive!
Miss Martian: This isn't Forager's fault. Please understand, that was never Orion. It was a Martian feeding your hate, trying to start a war between the Bugs and the New Gods.
Mantis: LIES! New Gods want Bugs dead!
Miss Martian: No. The Martian was manipulating you psychically-
Mantis: THIS Martian is manipulating Mantis psychically! Hive will not listen to Martians, Earthers, New Gods or traitors! If Hive sees any of you again! Any of you. Hive will end you!
[Mantis spits at them and skulks away, Forager goes to follow but is stopped by Bear]
Bear: I'm sorry friend Forager, but it is no longer safe for you on New Genesis. The shapeshifter could return in a new form. And clearly, you cannot return to your hive.
Wonder Girl: But he saved my life!
Blue Beetle: He needs witness protection or something.
[Miss Martian forms four arms to hold each of Forager's]
Miss Martian: You can come with us.
Forager: Forager: Doesn't want to leave Forager's home.
Miss Martian: I know. But it's not forever. Just for now.
[Forager reluctantly nods and Bear uses Mother Box to open a Boom Tube, Miss Martian gently lifts the bodies of Giant and Blister an the heroes depart one by one. Lastly, Forager. Who looks back on New Genesis, to the woods and fields. Before sadly leaving.]

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

Todd Jenson> Makes me wonder how the Manhattan Clan would react to seeing those versions of themselves:-D

Seeing those Parisian gargoyles in Season Four of "Young Justice" would be amusing, though I wonder whether Greg might reject the idea (if it ever occurred to him) as too self-indulgent.
Todd Jensen

Masterdramon> I was more thinking along the lines of if Gargoyles hadn't been cancelled (and the Goliath Chronicles never existed) so the show continued on through the 90's and into the early 2000's. So while Greg's production posse has a lot of great performers not all of them had come to prominence until after the show ended.

I also would like to see Sarah Williams in something done by Greg. I know her more for the things she's done with Team Four Star and affiliates than her anime career but she would be a delight.

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

As for characters of DC elements for Young Justice, well for a lighthearted comedic story would be nice to see Weisman adapting himself again and use the Paris gargoyles clan from JLA Showcase. There's a Gargoyles/YJ crossover:-D.

And depending how much episodes he would get after Season 4, we'll there might need to be some new characters, but maybe a Crime Syndicate of sorts. I know that there are evil counterparts beyond Ultraman, Owlman, Johnny Quick, Superwoman and Power Ring, so who knows?


Then came hot July boiling like to fire,
That all his garments he had cast away:
Upon a Lion raging yet with ire
He boldly rode and made him to obey;
It was the beast that whilom did foray
The Nemaean forest, till th' Amphytrionide
Him slew, and with his hide did him array;
Behind his back a scythe, and by his side
Under his belt he bore a sickle circling wide.

Edmund Spenser, "The Faerie Queene".

Todd Jensen

The obvious answer, of course, would be folks who became part of Greg's "Production Posse" on later shows that he's produced.

If we ever get more voiced Gargoyles content, I'd be more surprised if we don't get to hear some combination of (by no means meant to be an exhaustive list): Crispin Freeman, Zehra Fazal, Josh Keaton, Kevin Michael Richardson, Dee Bradley Baker, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, Grey Griffin, Tara Strong, Ben Diskin, James Arnold Taylor, Steve Blum, John DiMaggio, Jason Marsden, Greg Cipes, Vanessa Marshall, Lacey Chabert, Peter MacNicol, Corey Burton, Deborah Strang, Kelly Hu, Bryton James, Eric Lopez, Andrew Kishino, Nolan North, Troy Baker, Bruce Greenwood, Khary Payton, Stephanie Lemelin, Jesse McCartney, Jason Spisak, Danica McKellar, Masasa Moyo, Mae Whitman, Alyson Stoner, Zeno Robinson, Fred Tatasciore, Danny Trejo, Alan Tudyk, Kari Wahlgren, David Kaye, Britt Baron, and Daniela Bobadilla.

Besides the actors he's already worked with, another name I would hope to throw in the pile would be Sarah Anne Williams. While she's mostly known for her anime work (Sayaka Miki in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Nonon Jakuzure in Kill la Kill, Felix Argyle in Re:Zero), fans who have seen the 2009 Gathering Gargoyles/SpecSpidey Radio Play may recognize her as its Angela and Gwen Stacy. I still remember the moment when I rewatched that video after becoming a massive weaboo and doing the double take "Holy s*** I know that voice that's Sayaka."

I believe I once read a Reddit AMA where she described Gargoyles as her "anime before there was anime." And I always enjoy seeing fans of a property get to graduate into working on it in an official capacity (something that happens a lot in the English-dubbed anime industry as of late...the sheer number of big-name dub VAs who used to, or STILL, do YouTube covers of anime OPs is kinda staggering). Zehra is basically as close as someone can be to a shoe-in for a Gargoyles role (given that a canon character is literally designed after her), but I hope she won't be the only Gathering alum who gets a chance to step up.

Masterdramon - [kmc12009 at mymail dot pomona dot edu]
"There may be a place for me in this man's soul. Not because of what I may receive, but for something of worth I may have for him." - Casca

Could look for a role for Wil Wheaton. Especially cause he is I believe into animation and comics. He even I believe has anime credit like Kurokami (haven't seen, but heard of it through things he did).

So while thinking back about head-casting, I was coming up with a list of actors I'd like to see (or would've seen) in Gargoyles.

For the Star Trek crowd I would've like to have seen Leonard Nimoy, Armin Shimerman, Alexander Siddig, Rosalind Chao (I imagine her playing Amanda Chung) and Patrick Stewart (the only person I had in mind for Prospero).

Other actors would include John Kassir (the only person I had in mind for Caliban), Mark Hamill, Olivia d'Abo, Danica McKellar and Johnny Yong Bosch (who I think would make a good Terry Chung).

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