The Life & Times of an Auteur.

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

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Agendas


Damn it, Greg! Please don't make me like Lex Luthor. You've already made me like Venom, stop doing this. Stop taking character that I consider to be lame and making them work for me! Okay, with that tangent out of the way, let's segue into my review.

It's been twenty episodes, and sixteen months since we last saw Project Cadmus. Ideally, we wouldn't have had the delays between episodes that we did, but that is hardly the fault of the show. Still, it was nice to see Superboy "return home" and face his past. This is the third episode in a row to focus on a specific member of The Team. Kid Flash got his episode, Miss Martian got her's. This week, it was Superboy's turn. As with the previous two episodes, this was one the character needed.

I know next to nothing about the DC Universe, but through pop cultural osmosis, I knew who Superboy's other dad was since shortly after the series got started. I thought Luthor was very effective in this episode, and I loved seeing him play the good dad. If I step back and pretend I don't know anything about Lex, his words near the end were frighteningly agreeable.

"Big Boy Blue lives in a world of black and white. You were created by the bad guys, so there must be something wrong with you. But we both know life isn't that clear cut, the real world is full of grays."

And he's right. Lex Luthor is right. I'm sure some Superfans are going to be disgusted with this, but it's true. Now, granted we all know Luthor is a very dark shade of gray, and he is using the truth for his own ends, but that doesn't make him wrong.

I also enjoyed Luthor's Xanatos Gambit. He used Superboy to discover the genomes, and bring them back under control. Smart. Practical. Smarter and practical than the DCAU version of Lex Luthor who threw a fit when something didn't go his way and always got his ass handed to him at the end. But what should I expect when you put Lex in the hands of the man who created David Xanatos. Luckily for all involved, I don't think Superboy is going to turn out to be like Thailog.

Loved finally seeing the Watchtower, and I loved this design. It was built into an asteroid, instead of just being an orbiting hunk of metal. Pretty cool. It was great seeing the Justice League get together and really seeing how they operate, and the disagreements among the team. Maggie Q is a great Wonder Woman, and I loved when she needled Batman for training Dick Grayson to be Robin at nine years old, and I loved it even more when Batman said he did it so Dick wouldn't end up like him.

Four home runs in a row, keep them coming.

8 comments:

  1. I haven't seen "Agendas" yet, since I don't have cable (I'll have to wait for the DVD to come out), but what I've heard about it reminded me of a scene at the end of the "Young Justice" trade paperback which I bought a couple of days ago. It showed a vision Superboy was fed by the G-gnomes (if I've got the name right) at Cadmus Labs when he was being programmed, of a Superman gone mad in Metropolis - he actually tears the Daily Planet Building to pieces and kills Lois Lane and Perry White - until Superboy takes him down. I've heard that in some takes on Lex Luthor, he suspects that Superman might indeed turn on the human race someday, and this would tie in with that.

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  2. I like how Luthor threw in Conner's dilemma with Match (about how he wanted to release him but had to contain him)just to prove his point in reference to the quote you put above.

    I wonder if Supes saw a little of Lex's resemblance the first time he saw Conner?

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  3. Lex's argument falls apart when you consider this Superman DOESN'T think of the world in black and white terms. Did you ignore every piece of Superboy's arc with Superman in order to hash your assertion together?

    Putting aside my own personal interpretation that Match supports ("Connor is discomforting because it shows Superman's existence has compromised the safety of civilization"), Superman's entire deal is the fact he DOESN'T think of Connor in black and white terms. He can't foster him into another Superman, but he can't outright destroy him because he's a human being. The result is a middle ground: keep distance and let him grow among peers. Is that RIGHT? Not completely. Is it some reaction based on black and white ideals? No. It's Superman trying to realistically access the fact that someone cannot, will not, and SHOULD NOT be obligated to grow into the god-like standards he has established. He's taking a very morally grey approach to make Connor his own man rather than the straight black and white approaches of either pure rejection/destruction and pure acceptance.

    "Lex Luthor was right" is a fairly simplistic interpretation of what's a pretty straightforwardedly structured moment: after a relationship of ambiguity, Superboy is outright told exactly what he thinks is right. It's true only to the extent that this is how an angry teenager would see someone handling a complex, adult issue. It's hardly some chillingly accurate assessment, even if you divorce knowledge of the DC Universe and only approach it internally to the emotion and story of Young Justice. Really, by asserting Lex Luthor is right you're now SUPPORTING the various "Superman is a dick" interpretations you've once called foolish, albeit in a round about way.

    Lex Luthor isn't right, but being right isn't nearly as effective as playing on Superboy's biases. Superman wasn't the black and white one; in that scene, LEX LUTHOR presented Connor with an incredily black and white version of his situatiion...which was easier and simpler for him to believe.

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  4. Great review. I like your term "pop cultural osmosis". I feel the same way when it comes to DC, Marvel, etc.

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  5. Meh. Figures the only way you'd like Lex Luthor is for Greg Weisman to write him as a crabon copy of Xanatos instead of being his own character.

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  6. ^ "Carbon", sorry.

    And maybe he's not even that, but The Light has already been accused of essentially imitating Xanatos Gambits that Xanatos himself or Norman Osborn have already done better. Lex, being an evil businessman and all, now really feels like a "been there, done that" kind of character. But I suppose the direction this Superboy and Lex thing is ultimately taken in may yet surpise me, so we'll see...

    On side note, I do love Mark Rolston's vocal performance as Lex Luthor. It's up there with Clancy Brown for me.

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  7. "Damn it, Greg! Please don't make me like Lex Luthor. You've already made me like Venom, stop doing this. Stop taking character that I consider to be lame and making them work for me!"
    lol

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