The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Humanity



Let me start by saying that I know nothing about Red Tornado. I know nothing about Red Torpedo. I know nothing about Red Inferno. I know nothing about Red Volcano. I know nothing about T.O. Morrow. As ignorant as I am of the DC mythos, I am even more ignorant in the mythology of Red Tornado. Up until now, he was that robot that got blown up in an episode of "Justice League Unlimited."

This was an awesome episode. It was a crash course in all of this without ever feeling like an info-dump. From a writing stand point, it felt less like exposition and more like an organic part of the story. That sort of thing is hard to do, but it really worked. Two episodes built up to this, and the pay off was stunning. It takes great writing to make me care about a glorified toaster oven, but this episode did it.

I also liked Zatanna. I liked her a lot. I'm assuming that was Lacey Chabert doing her voice. The cast list attached to the end of the episode was obviously for an episode set down the line, so I don't know. But if it was, it was nice to hear her again. Both her and Vanessa Marshall as Black Canary. I'm hoping we hear more "Spectacular Spider-Man" alumni later on.

Zatanna was a lot of fun, and I liked her chemistry with Robin. I was actually a little disappointed when the episode ended with her seemingly not joining the team. I would like to see more of her and I think she fits right in. I can think of one character I wouldn't mind swapping out in exchange, but that's neither here not there.

I thought Red Volcano made a pretty menacing villain. That scene where he was tearing T.O. Morrow apart was pretty brutal, although I had guessed that Morrow was a robot based on how young he appeared as opposed to how long ago those flashbacks took place. I got an Ultron-vibe from Volcano, and if he is anything like Ultron... or the Coyote robots, I doubt he's gone for good.

I thought the flashbacks to the Justice Society were fun, and added a lot of history to make this world feel more real. I also couldn't help but be reminded of Watchmen" while watching that. And was that the Alan Scott Green Lantern? Cool.

If there is one nit I had about this episode, I don't think Wally's plan to talk to Ivo in the hopes of finding Morrow was a dumb idea at all. In fact, the idea made so much sense, logically, I'm rather surprised Batman didn't think of it. Someone tell Wally to think of dumb ideas to solve more problems, we'll have world peace and an end to hunger and crime in no time.

The script for this episode was personally penned by Greg Weisman. Now, a few years ago, he was writing a "Red Tornado" mini-series for DC, which got shelved. I wonder how much of that found its way into this episode. Because if the two were anything alike, that makes the comic's cancellation even more of a shame.

Overall, I'm not sure which episode of the season is my favorite so far. But it's a tie between "Humanity" and "Targets." Great episode. Like I said last week, the extra credit is being turned in.

8 comments:

  1. I wouldn't rule out Zatanna joining the Team just yet. We already got Helmet of Fate sitting on Wally's shelf and Klarion among the Light. Seems likely that they're going to need a dedicated mage soon enough.

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  2. As I told a friend earlier this weekend, I thought that Jeff Bennett did a particularly awesome job in this episode as Red Tornado . . . not that Jeff EVER struggles to be brilliant, but he sure did convince me (a fellow fan that's abysmally ignorant of DC lore) that Red Tornado had a growing "Pinocchio" complex :)

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  3. Am i the only who thought of plot was similar to that one Gargoyles episode where it's about Coldstone and his siblings as well as Red Volcano channeling Ultron with his hatred of humanity and planning to wipe it out somehow?

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  4. It doesn't remind me of any "Gargoyles" episode.

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  5. I wonder what's with all these subtle refernces to Marvel characters in DC show? First, Dr. Strange in Denial and now Ultron.

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  6. Would you kindly mind explaining to me how Hugo Strange is a Marvel reference? He is a doctor. His name is Strange. He predates Marvel's Dr. Strange by decades!

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  7. I think he was referring to the title of Sorcerer Supreme being referenced in "Denial", not Hugo Strange.

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  8. I agree that "Homefront" and "Humanity" both almost certainly draw from Greg's cancelled Red Tornado miniseries, and that I would have LOVED to read it if that was the case. Of course, if DC was smart they would've just handed a couple of their characters off to Weisman and Co. (TM) permanently following the reboot, but that's neither here nor there...

    As a total DC geek, the showrunners here continue to out-and-out spoil me with cameo after cameo. Not only do we get the Earth-16 versions of Jim Lockhart (the Quality Comics character who originally went by "Red Torpedo," though he was unrelated to the much-later robots) and the Danette Reilly version of Firebrand...

    ...But our first peek at the roster of the JSA as well! Looks like we've got Kent Nelson, Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, Ted Grant (Wildcat), and...holy crap, is that SANDMAN I spy?! Glad to see at least one other person hasn't forgotten good ol' Wesley Dodds.

    I agree that Wally's plan wasn't "dumb" (okay, well, it was...but only because of information that he couldn't possibly know, i.e. that Hugo Strange is an agent of the Light), but it was certainly outside-the-box and unusual, which I think is more what Robin meant. The "unusual" part being asking one of Morrow's COMPETITORS rather than one of his allies, which is presumably why Bats didn't try it.

    I was definitely impressed by Jeff Bennett's ability to do at least three distinctive spins on what had to be fundamentally the same voice, from the stiff but sympathetic Tornado to the suave but frustrated Morrow android to the cold and menacing Volcano. And yeah, I definitely got an Ultron vibe off of him as well, combined with Long Feng from "A:TLA" for the...intensity of his powers. Damn, I miss that evil bastard...

    And speaking of Bennett, his recitation of the "Prodigal Son" quote at the beginning was WIN. Goddammit Weisman, stop making me love you so much.

    Loved Chabert's Zatanna as well. And as for further SpecSpidey alums, I'd get a real kick if they eventually cast Earth-16's Catwoman as Tricia Helfer. XD

    But yeah, overall, "Young Justice" continues to knock it out of the park. I don't think I've seen an ongoing streak this good in a looooooong time.

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