The Life & Times of an Auteur.

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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Happy New Year


Season One took so long to air that it actually does feel a bit like five years. Time skips are a gamble. In theory, when they are this big, I do not like. In practice? Well, I take that on a case by case basis. Did I like this one? Well, over the coming weeks I'll find out, won't I?

Of course, this being the internet, a lot of people are already decrying it. I can understand where they're coming from. We missed five years of our protagonists' lives. Superboy and Miss Martian are no longer a couple. Zatanna and Rocket are now members of the Justice League. Robin is now Nightwing. Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Artemis are all unaccounted for. Am I annoyed? Yes, a little. Will everyone be accounted for? I think so. Will we find out what happened in between? I think we'll learn what we need to know, yes. No, the sky did not fall. Of course, what I've found the most annoying are the people who are proclaiming that the series is going to take a plunge in the ratings because kids are too dumb to understand what is going on. Well, anyone who says that is speaking from a position of unbridled arrogance and is even dumber than the people they claim to be speaking for.

So now we have a new Team. Aside from Nightwing, Superboy and Miss Martian, we've got Wonder Girl, Batgirl, Lagoon Boy, Beast Boy, Blue Beetle, and somebody I don't know. I am not a DC guy, and never really have been. So, after months of getting used to and settling into the DC Universe, I am finally thrust back in having to wikipedia most of these people so I know who I'm talking about. I've heard of Blue Beetle, and I am very familiar with Batgirl. I have no idea who anybody else is. But I'm sure we'll get to know them, and I've always been a patient viewer. The production team has long since earned my trust.

Lobo, ugh, Lobo. I know he was introduced in 1983, but he didn't really take off until the 90's and, well, he's not someone I'm ever going to like. I'm not a fan of the overly violent, over the top 90's anti-heroes of comics, and I never will be. From the same era that brought us Venom: Lethal Protector, and Image. So, Lobo was an unwelcome sight here. But he did lead to a great near freak out shot where he tore Tseng in half and we found out he was a Skrull.... er, an alien. A tiny alien in an H.R. Giger robot suit.

In season one, I kept calling the Miss Martian/Superboy relationship shallow and hormones (like Romeo and Juliet). I did not call it that to trash it, I thought it was that by design. Then said I was wrong after the "I always knew what you were scene." Now, it looks my initial assessment was the correct one. But, I will have to see the circumstances behind their break up first. But really, how long do most teen romances survive?

My favorite parts of the episode was when we learned that the Justice League are wanted war criminals all across the galaxy. We all theorized that Vandal Savage had them carry out something like this, but it looks like they caused the galaxy's September 11th or Pearl Harbor. I can't wait to see where this goes. I also loved Tim Curry as G. Gordon Godfrey, all he needed to do to become more like Glenn Beck was cry. I thought it was hilarious.

Overall, did I like it? Yes. Of course, I am also confident everyone will be accounted for. We'll hear from Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Artemis soon enough. The Light is still out there, and still going to be a major element in the series. We'll hear about Red Arrow's mission to find Speedy. We'll find out why Superboy and Miss Martian broke up. The show was not ruined, and while I understand the shock, I think all viewers with an IQ over 70 are at least keeping this in perspective, and know we're gonna get the show we need. Either way it's always better to write up towards your audience instead of assuming your audience is a bunch of brain dead, illiterate nitwits like Jeph Loeb's "Ultimate Spider-Man" does and like the nitwits who are "speaking for" the youngsters in the audience.

24 comments:

  1. Ahhhh!!! Change Bad!!!~~Millions of Fanboys crying out!

    Let the baseless speculation flood the Internet! Starting...Now!

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    1. Also, I am looking forward to re-watching the episode to get a closer look at the League members that showed up at the end...

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  2. To be fair, though, Lobo was initially created as a parody of Wolverine and all things grimdark and "X-TREEEEM". Too bad the fans of those things failed to "get it" and turned him into the exact thing he was parodying. Even his creators were confused.

    Hearing about how "children will be confused" and "ratings will drop" did anger me to end. Children are NOT stupid. I watched this with my little brother. He's six, and he understood it fine. That kind of mentality is why Loeb is ruining Marvel Animation right now.

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    1. Exactly, the only people who would claim something like that are deeply stupid themselves.

      I realize this review of mine called people out, if not by name. But, frankly, it needed to be said. If they weren't trying to speak for others, and essentially calling others stupid to cover up their own stupidity, I would have let it slide.

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  3. Thanks for adding a voice of reason. I for one thought it was great overall, and even Lobo didnt really detract too much from the story's flow. And while I will end up pretty upset if the missing 5 years are never mentioned, I would be incredibly surprised if they were not filled in over this season. Obviously key developments will be explained, just not in a single episode. In fact, I imagine the whereabouts of Aqualad, Artemis, and Kid Flash (and the Speedys) will be key elements.

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    1. We'll get answers. The way I see it, if people don't like shows that are cutting edge and not afraid to take chances, there is a nice, harmless paint by numbers Green Lantern cartoon on right before it that doesn't aspire to anything beyond nice, safe adequacy.

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  4. I'm just going to put this out there because a lot of people seem confused by this "random black guy" running things from the cave. In season 1 a lot of characters from the comics showed up in cameos that were easter eggs for comic fans. There were a ton of these cameos in Megan and Conner's school.

    Mal Duncan, the jock/superman fan, is the guy in the cave. He is the Herald and the boyfriend of Karen Beecher (Bumble Bee) and a cheerleader back in season 1. So search both of them on Wikipedia.

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    1. Yes, I recognized them both. I am quite curious as to how they got recruited.

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  5. "Of course, this being the internet, a lot of people are already decrying it. I can understand where they're coming from. We missed five years of our protagonists' lives. Superboy and Miss Martian are no longer a couple. Zatanna and Rocket are now members of the Justice League. Robin is now Nightwing. Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Artemis are all unaccounted for. Am I annoyed? Yes, a little. Will everyone be accounted for? I think so. Will we find out what happened in between? I think we'll learn what we need to know, yes. No, the sky did not fall. Of course, what I've found the most annoying are the people who are proclaiming that the series is going to take a plunge in the ratings because kids are too dumb to understand what is going on. Well, anyone who says that is speaking from a position of unbridled arrogance and is even dumber than the people they claim to be speaking for."

    I'm annoyed but optimistic. If it were ANYONE but Greg Weisman at the helm of things I doubt I'd be this patient. Though I'm not going to claim the sky is falling and ratings will plummet because everyone's tastes vary.

    Though I am somewhat fearing the worst for some of the characters like Kid Flash and Artemis. With him not on the team, something must have happened that would cause him to quit. Ditto for Artemis, who might have taken up a new name (and new ways like in the comics, but I hope not) in Huntress or Tigress, or something worse. :( I know the questions on my two favorite characters will be answered in time. The sixth episode is called "Bloodlines" for a reason. And I have a good feeling it will focus on both of their's, especially since Chesire is supposed to be in it. But for now, I've got this sense of dread with both of them, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong come around June. At worst, I'm not going to lie and say I'm not upset at the fact that we won't get to see Wally & Artemis's relationship blossom through the awkward stages. But at best, a problem may just be a misunderstood opportunity, only time will tell.

    With Beast Boy you at least got a sneak peak at who he was back in Image, but I'm guessing you already know that. Mae Whitman's always been one of my favorites so her voicing Wondergirl has already gotten her character off to a good start for me.

    So they're only figuring out NOW that they were fugitives after five years? What? Was there no "George W. Bush" on any of these planets that wanted to retaliate right away? :p Pansies.
    You'd think Vandal Savage would have them target planets with a bigger military or something. Also I find it a little hard to believe that someone like Green Lantern's guardians would not hear about these incidents. I'm sure Greg Weisman has a good explanation for this, but for now I'm drawing blanks as far as good reasons as to why?

    As you mentioned above Tim Curry as "the glorious one" was the highlight of the episode. And Greg has said he'll be a reoccuring character, which is fine by me.

    So for now, I'm annoyed that my favorite characters (Kid Flash, Artemis) did not get a mention, I know some will call me "a shipper with a bleeding heart" that's whining over this, but they were both my favorite characters BEFORE Denial brought up the idea of them being an item. That's not to say their relationship isn't a big reason for it (it is), but there's more to it than that. Oh well, for now I'm sure I'll warm up to some of these characters. And I'm patient for the answers, until then Weisman please don't kill her off.

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    1. "So they're only figuring out NOW that they were fugitives after five years? What? Was there no "George W. Bush" on any of these planets that wanted to retaliate right away? :p Pansies."

      Space is big and vast. It's not like "Destroyer" where you could mount a full scale invasion in less than fifteen minutes.

      Gotta find out where they came from, gotta learn about where and who you are attacking, gotta gather your armada. Most TV, especially cartoons, don't paint this sort of thing realistically.

      The Empire of Japan was planning their attack on Pearl Harbor for years.

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    2. I was mostly being sarcastic with that response Greg. I know that most planets aren't going to do what I suggested. In fact, the revelation of what the planet Rann did felt like a very realistic response.

      Though I still find it A LITTLE hard to believe that it took five years for them to hear about this given the Green Lantern Corp. Though like I said, I'm sure Greg Weisman has a good reason for this.

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    3. I imagine Rann lies outside the GLC's jurisdiction. But then, I never took the Oans' title as "Guardians of The Universe" too literally.

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    4. But all the planets they hit are outside of it's jurisdiction? And even if they were. It still seems a little unrealistic that it would take this long to hear about it.

      Then again Godfrey made it sound like the "aliens" were something he was going on about for a long time, so I doubt it's something he decided to talk about out of the blue. And more like something that happened because of a specific event.

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  6. I might be missing something myself, but both Bambi and The Fox & The Hound had timeskips, and as a kid I certainly didn't have a mental meltdown trying to comprehend them.

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    1. Sorry for the double post, but to add a more recent example, The Legend of Korra skipped from a a young Korra demonstrating that she's the Avatar to a 17 year old Korra finishing her training.

      So yeah, I'm wonder how this stands out.

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    2. The Korra example is comparing apples with steam engines.

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  7. Well that was a bit weird, and a big risk. It's hard to believe they did 'in medias res' in the middle of the series and it worked, for the most part.

    I think the main problem stems from the fact that we no longer know these characters, even the ones we've been watching from season 1. Everything was happening thick and fast, with us barely getting to know any character. Now we will get to know them over the course of this season, but sadly some people don't get that fact.

    I'm wondering why it's taken 5 years for the League to learn the fallout from the 16 hours. Since the League has two Green Lantern's on the team wouldn't Oa hear about such attacks, especially since a GL was involved in them? With Godfrey stirring up anti-alien sentiment, and the prisoners being afraid of Blue Beetle and Lagoon Boy I'd imagine something happened to cause that sentiment, like an invasion. But since the League just found out about what they did in the 16 hours that seems less likely. (Not a complaint BTW, just a question I hope gets answered over the course of the season)

    For the new characters I'm happy we're getting Tim Drake for once, since any other time he's been used outside of comics he's been Jason Todd in all but name. While it might confuse some people I liked that we don't see Blue Beetle's suit talking back, we get to see what everyone else sees, him looking a bit crazy. Though I'm not liking Lagoon Boy at the moment, he just kinda grates on me and I'm hoping we get to find out why he and Megan are dating so I can see what she sees in him.

    Speaking of, I really like that after 5 years the couples from season 1 aren't all together now. Let's face it not every couple lasts that long, and that goes double for teen couples, so it's nice to see that play out here. It does make me curious about Wally and Artemis since both are conspicuously absent.

    An interesting start to the season, not what I expected at all. I’m really interested to see where this all goes.

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  8. It's not that kids might not be able to follow the show, but rather that the show seems to have substantially shifted from what it was. There is little doubt it will be well-done, but the show people enjoyed for 26 episodes might be gone. Emphasis on "might", though. And it's surely too early to say that anything or anyone has been forgotten or cast aside in favor of new things.

    [cross-posted from Toonzone]

    My early takeaway: this show is taking risks.

    We have a very different team, 20 episodes to explore its members and (hopefully) get into what's up with the other season one regulars, and to resolve a much grander plot. The first season was a show about young heroes finding their way, and the overarching plot was a very nice bonus to that. This second season appears to be extremely story-driven, starring plenty of new actors.

    Can the narrative handle all this expansion? Yes. Can it do so while hanging onto the quality of characterization that the first season had? Maybe. But notice how much was explained here in fleeting moments, an action here, a line there, as the show (re)introduces us to this setting. We could see a lot covered here.

    It's interesting. It's ambitious. I think people should give it a chance and see where it goes, and I think most will.

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  9. I'm just so bloody happy that Nightwing's in the show. I was looking forward to Greg and his team's take on Nightwing, because I was never really happy with the DCAU's take on him. I dunno why Nightwing's character is always interpreted as whiny and petulant. Nightwing should be fun, Nightwing should be hopeful and high energy, he shouldn't be dark or somber. Though like any character, he should of course be layered. Jesse's voice was a little too light, I think. (Older Nightwing should sound husky and youthful IMO.) But otherwise he fits well.

    I'm just so overwhelmed by how amazing Nightwing and Tim Curry were that I don't even care about the time skip. I doubt the original cast will be abandoned completely, and well, we had 26 episodes with those original 6. I don't think changing things up, especially in this type of team show, is a bad idea.

    And really? Does anyone really and honestly think we'll never get an explanation for what happened to Aqualad, Kid Flash and Artemis? That they're just gone forever for no satisfying reason? Greg's a better writer and producer than that, I think he's earned a LITTLE bit of faith at this point.

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  10. "I think all viewers with an IQ over 70 are at least keeping this in perspective"

    And even those who don't still get it.

    Spen

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  11. Big risk. I'm reserving judgement. If I didn't have complete faith in the producers, I might not have stuck it out.

    As for Lobo, I've never really liked him before. I didn't really like him for most of his appearance here. Then he rips Tseng in half, says "Whelp, job's done. Bye!" and leaves. I quite liked that. Just a guy doing a job. I wonder who wanted him to "put on a show", i.e. reveal that Tseng had been replaced by an alien so publically.

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  12. Something I've been wondering. I've heard people use the term "taking risks," and it's made me wonder, how do we separate willingness to take risks vs ideas that are just plain stupid? Though as far as taking risks go, even before this, Greg plenty of risks with the show, or at least ideas that are controversial, not sure if that's the same thing.

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    1. "how do we separate willingness to take risks vs ideas that are just plain stupid?"

      I would think being able to separate the two is so easy, even a genetic accident could do it.

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    2. I have difficulty because I try to look at would could be done if the risk was taken, and would could be done if it wasn't. For instance, having Arsenal replace Red Arrow. Risky, and I so far I don't feel it's paid off since Arsenal being on the team mostly just makes Nightwing look like an idiot for keeping him on despite his mental instability and what he did in True Colors nearly getting the team killed. To me that seems more like a bad idea, but I'm sure that there are people that would disagree. Given time to think, I guess it's all perspective.

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