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The Phoenix Gate

Comment Room Archive

Comments for the week ending July 18, 2021

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I like dramatic animated TV series. I enjoyed drama TV Series. Thanks, Regards. - Kirby | Handyman at https://www.kirbyshandymanservice.com
Kirby Anime Lover - [kirbyanimelover at outlook dot com]

Thanks Masterdramon, for the time being I might put the next review on hold. At least until we get an update.
When you return to your unobservable but empirically determined dimension of origin--tell them CARL SAGAN sent you.

Yeah, Station 8's security certificate needs to be renewed. I already let Gorebash know and this was his reply:

I can't renew the cert myself. I'll contact the server admin and ask about it. The process to renew the cert is automated, so I'm guessing something in that process broke and they'll need to spend some time fixing it.

Some browsers (but not all) will let you ignore the cert error and continue accessing the site. Usually there's something like an 'advanced' button that is displayed with the error message. Clicking on that might bring up an option to ignore the error. It's a short term fix until this issue can be resolved (which could take a day or two depending on if the admin is around).

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

Yeah I've had that problem as well, I'm also getting the "This Website is not secure" message as well.

This has happened before, but not for a long time.

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

Is anyone else getting a message saying their system's date and time is incorrect when they try to get to this site? I had to tell my phone it's Monday to check in here.

Also my question about Atlantis' military requirement got answered and man I'm going to have to send in a follow up once the queue reopens, aren't I. Are there other undersea nations Atlantis is at war with? And why 12 year olds rather than even late teens, maybe some holdover tradition from a more Spartan (literally) past?

(also, under 600 questions!)

Karrin Blue

Thanks Todd, one thing I forgot to mention was this episode had two cast members of "The Princess and the Frog" in it.
One thing I really want to see in season 4 is the continuing relationship of father and daughter.

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

This is really cool website, you can design what text color do you want when you comment. Thanks
Sell ugly house St. Louis - [stlouissellmyhousefast at aol dot com]

Oh, also - so, this isn't something I expect YJ or even the comics to handle, since it could be pretty awkward to explain to the audience, but. I've always thought it would be interesting to have a plot with Vandal Savage where his survival of the fittest mentality is explained as being part of him - not necessarily part of being a caveman. I'm not an anthropologist or a paleontologist, of course, but one of the bits I've heard about the Paleolithic era that sticks with Mr is the burial of Shanidar-1. (https://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/fossils/shanidar-1)

"Through examining his skeletal remains, scientists found evidence that at a young age, Shanidar 1 experienced a crushing blow to his head. The blow damaged the left eye (possibly blinding him) and the brain area controling the right side of the body, leading to a withered right arm and possible paralysis that also crippled his right leg. One of Shanidar 1’s middle foot bones (metatarsal) on his right foot shows a healed fracture, which probably only enhanced his noticeable limp.  All of Shanidar 1’s injuries show signs of healing, so none of them resulted in his death. In fact, scientists estimate he lived until 35–45 years of age.  He would have been considered old to another Neandertal, and he would probably not have been able to survive without the care of his social group."

Even back then, people took care of other people, and helped them heal from injuries that even now would take months and years of difficult recovery. And, of course, as every evolutionary biologist always has to point out, 'survival of the fittest as a natural principle has nothing at all to do with strength, or speed, or durability, and is simply about adapting to your environment and successfully reproducing - in some ways it's more accurate to say survival of the good enough.

Even the conflict with the Neanderthals Dick brings up - I haven't remotely studied any of this, but if I understand right then one of the major going theories for how early modern humans 'won' against the Neanderthals was assimilation. Not war, not overtaking them, but interbreeding - having children until there simply wasn't a distinct 'Neanderthal' species.

Like I said, I don't expect YJ to bring any of this up - it'd probably be pretty hard to make it naturally tie into the plot, and make the audience aware of it without directly expositing, and all that. But I'd love for a comic (maybe a Flash adventure through time?) to bring some of this in, and show that Vandal has his own biases, and that the hope and community and ties of support that superheroes generally represent were around from the beginning.

Karrin Blue

Ugh, I meant to write a response earlier, but this gs got hectic... though, I actually don't have much to add that you didn't already say! I'm really interested to see where Cassandra goes from here, the Savage family dynamic really is interesting. I really wonder how much of what she says at the end, about Olympia dying happily, is genuine belief, how much is reflexive self preservation, and how much is what she's trying to convince herself of... probably all three, actually. Growing up in a family where you know your father has already outlived hundreds of generations of children just like you must give you some hangups, even if he gives you every sign of deep and genuine love.

I'm actually surprised more things haven't used Vandal Savage, Common Ancestor as a explanation for superhumans. It seems so intuitive here, but apparently not!

(as a little detail, I like that Brion's costume is tied in with Fire here, neatly explaining both how it's so incredibly fireproof and the color scheme. It's not something that exactly required an explanation, but the little reminder of all the connections between heroes is cool. And one thing I've liked in YJ is how, even when a hero isn't 'officially' on the League, they're more than likely still friends with Leaguers, and trade favors, and keep in touch. It makes it feel like a real community.)

Karrin Blue

So hoping it won't be reversed, but edited Otis' (he appeared in Season 2 episode Satisfaction) to clarify tYJ being his first appearance while a character based off movie Otis appeared in "Lex Luthor Strikes Back" from The World's Greatest Superfriends*.

Also in the Filmation cartoon (which can be seen on TubiTV, btw) the episode "Lex Luthor's Lethal Lasers" Lex had a onetime assistant named Kinky:-D.

*Think I mentioned it, but yeah Max has all Superfriends episodes. So my weekend binge has consisted of YJ for being actually great, and the so bad it's good fun of Superfriends.

Favorite stupid bit is Rokan: Enemy from Space. The Superfriends find out that Roman is a demon from Krypton and it takes them a good amount of time to figure that Kryptonite will be effective in scaring the creature off.

If only someone could edit in the music from Jeopardy:-D


"Kalibak. Darkseid honors us by sending his favorite son."

And that's why they call him Vandal SAVAGE. :P

Seriously though, what more can be said about Evolution. It a fascinating yet chilling character study of easily the most enigmatic member of Young Justice's sprawling cast.

Greg's said he feels this ep transcends the series itself and he's not wrong. With a little editing this could easily be a stand alone short film ala DC Showcase and if it had been, we probably still be praising it as the best of the bunch.

Who wants to live forever? Who dares to love forever, when love must die?

MATTHEW - Thanks for the latest review.

Your description of it as focusing on the villains (in this case, Vandal Savage) reminded me of "City of Stone", with its focus on Demona and Macbeth and their backstory (all the more so because, in both cases, the backstory involves real-world myth and legend; Macbeth - a mixture of the historical and Shakespearean versions of the character - in "City of Stone", Marduk from Babylonian mythology and Genghis Khan from history in "Evolution").

The mention of Vandal Savage wanting to keep his deeds secret struck me, given that (as I mentioned above) two of his past identities are both openly documented; apparently his objection didn't stem to Marduk and Genghis Khan's deeds being made public (though, seeing that he did cover up the fact that they were both identities of the same long-lived man....).

Todd Jensen

In Memory of Miguel Ferrer

Watched "Evolution" today which is one of my favorite episodes of the series thus far which is funny considering that the focus is primarily on the villains rather than the heroes. And that it's framed through a lot of narration and still pictures rather than being fully animated. But it does bring up a rule I have when it comes to animated series, if the acting and the writing are good then the animation can take a hit or two and you can still have a product of great quality. And what this episode brings is plenty of great acting and writing. On the one hand you have the trio of Brion, Halo and Forager training with their mentors and providing a lot of growth and comedy between them. And on the other hand you have Vandal Savage and his family and the backstory and drama they provide, each side balancing out the other. Comedy and tragedy.

One thing I liked about the bit with the heroes is that it offers them a chance for both young and old a chance to simultaneously unwind and work all while feeling organic. Kind of reminds me of the old training days back in the Cave, when the opportunities for a new team and new adventures were still fresh in their minds. Plus it also gives the chance for the older, more experienced members to learn a few new things as well. Nightwing might be the better fighter, but he can still be surprised by an extra set of arms and someone using dirty tactics to make up for their lack of experience. Superboy has learned a lot about knowing which blows to dodge and which to endure, but he still has something to learn about splash damage. This I think shows off some of the best elements of the student/teacher relationship, when both parties are learning through experience and growing to be not only better heroes, but better people because of it.

It's been said that the best villains are the ones who see themselves as the heroes and there's no better example of that than here. In part because the episode shows how Vandal has saved the Earth time and again, and part because he's still saving the Earth (though in this case from threats he himself put in motion). One thing that stood out to me is how his approach to villainy (or however you want to call it) may be influenced by some of his former identities. As a former caveman who survived bear attack, being backstabbed and even the journey to the "sky fire", you see the seeds of his survival of the fittest mentality. As Marduk we see the close bonds he has with his family and the value he places on them, whether fighting alongside him or not. And he fought not just for the kingdom of Babylon but for all humanity, and his slaying of the "star creature" perhaps put forth his idea of humanity taking their place at the center of the cosmos. His time as Khan of Khans demonstrates the sheer ruthlessness he is capable of (especially if you consider the theory that Genghis may have been responsible for starting the Black Death), but also of the diplomatic savvy Temujin was also known for. Just as Vandal was able to negotiate a deal with a galactic conqueror so to was Genghis known for his fairness within conquest, which makes sense considering one of the central tenets of Tengrism is being open and affirming of other beliefs. So to it makes sense that Vandal would draw on followers and colleagues from all walks of life. It feels like every past identity shown adds a new layer to the character.

But the big element of this episode, and in my opinion the reason why this episode stands out so well, is how the episode tells all of this through the viewpoint of his children. I liked the little fake out with Olympia, the episode frames it like she's Cassandra's teacher or former caretaker and possibly as a devoted worshipper of Vandal considering how she fawns over him. But then it's revealed that she's actually Cassandra's much older sister and that she's simply a daddy's girl whose mind has regressed with age. I wonder how many times a young Olympia begged her father to tell her the story of the bear because is was her absolute favorite. And when he kills her and Cassandra is so quick to justify it despite her shock, because you can tell she's thinking about that future when she may become a liability like Olympia did, and whether her father will embrace her just as warmly after killing her. Because for all the genuine love he may feel for his children, and despite his killing being done without kindness nor cruelty, they still come after his plans.

And to wrap things up, I want to consider the last moments of the episode. That despite his posturing about humanity overcoming alien invaders and new gods, he doesn't want his own exploits recorded no matter how good they make him look. But at the same time he instructs Cassandra to ensure that Olympia has a funeral worthy of the gods themselves. Could it be that deep down he doesn't feel that he's obtained the godhood that he was once bequeathed, but feels that his children
have? That if it was possible he'd place his children's image among the stars like the constellations? Or even the possibility that they already have?

Some Final Thoughts: We get a little hint for a future character in the form of Steve Lombard's sport's program. So in the comics, Nightwing actually got his nom de guerre from a Kryptonian myth, and I do like that they also referenced his infamous mullet he also sported. We get another Halo power, this one green for hologram projection. One detail that's easy to miss is why Vandal needs to to use the Warworld itself, in that the Light was just a little too successful at dividing the forces of good. The aftermath of the Reach's attempt at destroying the Earth has dissolved their treaty with the Green Lanterns and now they're at war. Plus the Greens are also at war with the forces of Apokolips. With everything going on, I can't help but wonder if we'll see another galactic faction spring forth from the chaos. Also, I noticed the Greek theming for Vandal's daughters, I guess he might find a mood to his naming every century or so. Still, I wonder why Cassandra was chosen on a meta level, considering there's already a fair amount of Cassie's in DC already.

Acting MVP: This is another episode where the whole cast brings their A-game, but I have to bring up Zehra Fazal and Jennifer Lewis for their roles as Vandal's children and David Kaye for his masterful performance of not only replicating Miguel Ferrer's guttural resonance, but also bringing the warmth not yet seen in Vandal Savage.

DC Profiles: Kalibak is one of the sons of Darkseid, an ogerish brute who brings cruelty and violence with him wherever he goes. Though as the comics have pointed out a lot of his behavior comes from the abuse he endured at his father's hand.

Starro the Conqueror is one of the earliest, if not the first, opponents fought by the Justice League. Able to control whole civilizations to whole planets through its spores, Starro seeks only conquest through enslavement.

Favorite Lines:

Cassandra: This is the story of man. Of all mankind. Of one man. The history of human evolution, traced with the light of truth through time immemorial. Leads back to a time of darkness, and to him. Man has known him by many names. But the truths in these pages will define him as the savior called...

Violet: Thank you. As you have clothing for action, now I do too.
Brion: And of course it is, form-fitting. As you superheroes seem to prefer.
Conner: Uh, some of us.

Cassandra: The fire from the sky had touched the ground not far away. It seemed to call to him, and he was compelled to follow that call. But an old nemesis found him first. The Cave Bear was twice his size. With claws and teeth evolved
to shred flesh and bone. And the bear set upon Vandal...To eat him alive.

Olympia: [whispering] Cassandra. Have you read the part about the bear yet?
Cassandra: Uh, yes. Yes Olympia.
Olympia: Ooh! That was my favorite part to write!

Cassandra: In the game of life and death, fear makes one weak. But when fueled by purpose beyond survival, man can become powerful. Vandal's quest for the Sky Fire gave him the power to defeat the bear. And standing victorious over the dead creature that once haunted his dreams, Vandal felt...Like a God! Baptized by the blood of his adversary, the spearhead of human evolution had been forged

Olympia: So strange. To risk attack by the Warworld is to court certain death. Cassandra, have you read the part about the bear yet?
Cassandra: Wait, what? Yes, Olympia. I have.

Cassandra: Death was nothing new to Vandal Savage.
So, he could sense when something was different about it. The corpses lining the path to the Sky Fire warned him away. But his quest urged him forward. To the source of the Sky Fire. A rock from out of the darkness. Yet alive with light. Heart racing, he reached out to touch this gift from the stars. And was halted by intense pain.And as blood and spirit drained away, the last thing Vandal saw before surrendering, was the shadowy but unmistakable form of man.

Brion: As children, my sister, brother and I would pretend to be Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman in our play room. I used to say Superman could beat anyone because of his powers. Gregor argued Batman could beat Superman by outsmarting him.
Conner: That's stupid. Why would they ever fight?
Artemis: Hmm, if they were being controlled by bad guys.
Dick: Nah, that could never happen.

Vandal Savage: Greetings, Darkseid.
Darkseid: Greetings, Savage. What news?
Vandal Savage: Our plan progresses, but an outside player threatens Earth. To protect our investment, I require...resources.
Darkseid:...Our arrangement grants you this privilege. The might of Apokolips is yours to unleash. Send your request.
Vandal Savage: Our partnership is strengthened by your benevolence and wisdom, Darkseid.
Darkseid: Indeed, Savage. Indeed.

Cassandra: In his 50,000 years, Vandal's ambitions have touched all of human civilization. But in a single day, the quest of another would change his purpose forever. His name was Darkseid. In our history's 13th century, he came from the planet Apokolips, to claim the Earth for his empire. But Vandal, known in this era as Genghis Khan, ruler of the largest empire in human history, had his own plans for his world. Backed by two of his gifted sons, the great Khan waged war against Darkseid's superior forces. And were easily defeated. But not before impressing Darkseid with their unique genetic gifts. Eyes opened by his opponent's power, and the fact of his existence, Vandal seized the moment and made a proposition. Together, Savage and Darkseid would conquer the galaxy. Intrigued by this brazen human, and the gifted armies he might raise, Darkseid agreed. Both men knowing that when the galaxy fell, Earth and Apokolips would wage a final battle. Winner take all.

Dick: The Art of War says, "Oh, divine art, of subtlety and secrecy. Through you, we learn to be invisible." Tonight, you'll choose a word that will help you become invisible to our enemies. Tonight, you choose your cryptonym. Your nom de guerre.
Artemis: Yeah, those are Dick's fancy words for "code name".
Brion: Ah, yes. Our superhero names.
Conner: It sounds a little silly, but you need one for our field comms to keep your identity secret from the bad guys.
Violet: I'm Halo! It was the first name you gave me, and I like it. I'm Violet at home. I'm Halo during a mission. Halo.
Brion: Halo is a beautiful name and describes your powers well. I will take a name that describes my powers, too. From now on, call me... Hot Lava.
[Dick and Artemis burst out laughing]
Brion: What? In my new form-fitting super-suit, I bring the hotness, do I not? Hot Lava!
Artemis Crock: [Still laughing] I'm not calling you Hot Lava.
Conner: Agreed.
Brion: [Chuckling] All right. All right. Seriously, then. Dr. Jace had a name for the powers in my bloodline. She called it, uh, Geo-Force.
Artemis: Huh. Geo-Force. That's a bit less of a stripper name.
Dick: Says the girl named Tigress. Rrrra! [Artemis hits him] Ow!
Artemis: Says the guy who took his name from an 80's mullet rock band.
Dick: Eh-ha. Not true.
Conner: Okay. Forager, what's your code name?
Forager: Um...Forager is...Forager!
Artemis: If it ain't broke...

Cassandra: Vandal once wrote, "It is better to capture an army than to destroy it." He had learned that more can be gained controlling men in peace than in the chaos of war. For war is death. Death is waste. And life should not be wasted while it may yet be controlled to serve a greater purpose.

Vandal Savage: The control diadem will make you one with the Warworld, but your consciousness will be no more than a drop in an ocean of circuits and steel. Do not try to move the ocean. Focus on what must be done. And the ocean will move for you.

Cassandra: Vandal, then known as the demigod hero, Marduk, led his children into battle against the star creature. Its origin unknown. Its intent. To enslave all of Babylonia. Marduk's Babylonia. Amidst the carnage, Marduk's son Nabu fell to the scourge. But Marduk did not stop to mourn him. Instead, he led his daughter Ishtar forward.

Cassandra: Marduk, the demigod, and Ishtar, his daughter, raged against the star creatures. In a battle for all mankind that shook the walls of Babylon. The alliance between father and daughter defeated the star creatures. And in defending Babylonia, in leading its people through the city's darkest hour, Marduk and Ishtar together would become known by all as...The Light.

Dick: You guys made real progress today. Mastering your own abilities and working in concert with each other.
Conner: Plus the fact that you've chosen to stay together, train together, fight the good fight at each other's sides and well...I, I, uh.
Artemis: Careful. You almost sounded like Big Blue.

Cassandra: Father, you will always be Earth's first, last and greatest hero. To fight at your side, to fight for humanity, this has been the honor of my life.
Olympia: [Excitedly] Cassandra, have you read the part about the bear yet?
Cassandra: Olympia, for the third time. Yes!
Olympia: That was my favorite story! Until today. [Giggles eagerly] I'll record this new chapter immediately while it's still fresh in my mind.
Vandal Savage: Olympia, we've been over this before.
Olympia: [Genuinely confused] We...we have?
Vandal Savage: [Patiently] My story must not be recorded. I have long-term plans. Some millennia long. They must risk never being revealed. [Vandal smiles warmly, placing his hands on the sides of Olympia's head] Tell me, why do you like the story of the bear so much?
Olympia: It's the only story from before your encounter with the meteorite. Before you became the savior, Vandal Savage. It defines who-
[Cassandra looks on shocked, her expression turned to pity as Vandal embraces Olympia, one last time]
Cassandra: It-it was a mercy father. Olympia's mind has been deteriorating for some time. But she died happily in your arms. [Vandal gentling lays Olympia down, making sure she lies in repose. Cassandra's voice starts to quiver] I'll bring you her journal immediately. A-and I will make the appropriate arraignments.
Vandal Savage: Please. Any daughter of Vandal Savage deserves a funeral worthy of the gods. Do right by your sister.
Cassandra: Of course Father.
[Cassandra bows to her father as he departs, Olympia's words echo in her mind]
Olympia: For war is death. Death is waste. Life should not be wasted while it may yet be controlled to serve a greater purpose.

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

MATTHEW> Vandal Savage or Ben Grimm?

If anyone does any work for the wikis, they'll have to update Black Beetle's page and be sure to list his real name as Edith Lynne Portafiro.

But seriously though, I was reading through the responses and got to the question about what films the Gargoyles like and it got me thinking about a discussion we had some time ago about the sort of things they like to read. We weren't exactly sure about Brooklyn but now we have some confirmation that he likes swashbucklers (which probably explains his pirate costume on Halloween).

But it's funny that we got this because it kind of goes along with this personal canon I have. [SPOILER] That during the TimeDancer arc Brooklyn would fight and lose his eye against Blackbeard. In a way it would mirror Broadway's own disillusionment with Westerns after his bad experience with a gun, and Brooklyn would find out pirates weren't exactly the dashing rakes that he saw in the old movies. [/SPOILER]

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

Ok, that could work - it's definitely not something lost of the Light would approve of, I think, with their focus on not wasting resources, but as we'll see in Evolution Darkseid has no such compunctions, and I doubt Slade would care much either way.

Oh, something I forgot to add in my comment yesterday, but on the topic of the Light's mutually assured destruction policy and the Red-Hooded Ninja. I have a theory that the reason we haven't seen Joker in two seasons is that he, in killing Jason Todd, ran afoul of it and maybe convinced the Light they needed to have a hard policy on what they do and don't accept, not just from their underlings, but from anyone involved in this world (hey, they're all a bunch of control freaks, what do you expect.) This is actually something I've been thinking about even before the 'nuclear option' was brought up explicitly. Now, we don't know exactly how this version of Death in the Family went down, or what might have been changed, but for the sake of argument let's assume there's no major changes. Even figuring that the Light thinks that, if a hero gets themselves involved, goes to a place they know they'll get into a fight, then whatever happens, happens, the Joker's plan goes pretty far beyond the pale. He doesn't just bait a specific underage hero out, he does it by bribing his long-lost mother and making Jason think she's in danger, then doesn't even take him out cleanly, but tortures him first. And all this isn't to accomplish a goal, but just to cause pain, out of sheer sadism. I can very easily see that making the Light go from 'This guy is dangerous, but we can channel him, his chaos can be useful' to 'he's a rabid animal, and we need to put him down before he flips the entire playing board just to see what sound the pieces make when they hit the floor.' Out of a practical desire to make sure the heroes don't think this is the new normal, and... well, there's that Discworld quote about how people with basically no morals will pride themselves a lot on having standards.

It does mean that Barbara's paralysis couldn't have happened through the Killing Joke, if Joker was dead as a doornail through that last timeskip, but I think that's pretty manageable. The whole, Joker tries to prove a philosophical point to Batman by tormenting Jim Gordon, plot doesn't really work in YJ, or at least it would be pretty tangential tangential to the characters we mostly pay attention to. And Babs being hurt some other way would explain why Paula brings her injury up as a consequence of the hero life in the Thanksgiving episode, since otherwise it'd have nothing to do with her being Batgirl or not, just that she's Gordon's daughter.

I had some third thing I wanted to add, but heck if I can remember what it is just now. Oh, and, second!

Karrin Blue

Who's on first
What's on second
I Don't Know's on third
Why's out in left
Because's in center
Tomorrow's pitching
Today's catching
Shortstop? I Don't Give a Darn!

And to continue the conversation from last week, the R&D team on the Goode Goggles would indeed have been vast, but Marlo was the head of it. If Granny's intention was to have a fall guy set up (and conveniently, already out of the picture so he couldn't contradict her story) in the likely event the heroes eventually caught on to her "additions," that person would need to be high enough on the food chain to (A) surreptitiously program those "additions" into the Goggles' code, and (B) successfully hide this from the entire rest of the supply chain. Marlo just happened to be the best guy to fit the bill.

Mind, there may have been other things he did to make himself a target. Even if he wasn't out to blow the whistle to the press or FBI or whatever, it's possible (again, being Director of R&D) that he noticed some of the alterations made to the code and started raising some concerns internally, maybe even to Gretchen herself. She thanks him, tells him he doesn't need to worry and promises to look into it...and then calls up Deathstroke the moment Marlo leaves the room.

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