The Life & Times of an Auteur.

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

Monday, April 9, 2012

Performance


Another character focus episode, this time on Robin. I will admit, up front, I don't have quite as much to say about this episode as I do others. It's not to say I didn't like this one, because I definitely did. A lot. But, I write reviews, and I certainly won't ignore this one. As Gandalf the White would say, it's the deep breath before the plunge.

Out of all the characters this season, Robin has gotten the least amount of focus. This is forgivable though, as Dick Grayson is the most famous and well known character on the team. Hell, before the press release for this show, I had no idea who Aqualad, Miss Martian, Kid Flash, and Artemis were. My knowledge of superhero sidekicks was limited to Robin, Bucky, Batgirl and Kitty Pryde (assuming they count), and Launchpad McQuack. Hey, Stan Lee thought sidekicks were lame... and I didn't disagree with him. I didn't watch "Teen Titans," but this show has made the concept grow on me. But Robin is the iconic teen sidekick, and you could find a nomadic tribe in the Sahara and chances are at least one of them would recognize Robin thanks to countless TV shows, movies, and pop culture references over the last several decades. But I enjoyed his story, it felt natural. The circus was his home, it was where he grew up. As much as I am enjoying the Light conspiracy, it is nice to take a small break from that as Dick wants to help a man who was like a father to him.

I thought this episode's version of the Parasite was an effective, and sometimes even scary villain. I definitely preferred this version to the one in "Superman the Animated Series" who was content as long as he had a big screen TV in his prison cell, and cable TV. This is a guy who should be terrifying, and this episode did that. Adam Baldwin was a great pick for his voice. Parasite was working for Intergang, who have ties to Apokolips. Was Parasite really trying to destroy Geneva with a black hole, or was that a giant boom tube? I suppose we'll find out soon.

I absolutely LOVED hearing Clancy Brown as King Faraday. As far as I'm concerned, he does good guys just as well as he does bad guys. I loved him as Captain George Stacy, and I loved him here. I do wonder if this was a small homage to George Stacy as the character design and voice seemed to match quite well. Either way, it put a smile on my face.

I really enjoyed the reference to H.G. Welles "The War of the Worlds." If there is one thing you can always count on to appear in a Weisman-helmed production, it is literary references. "Gargoyles" was full of them, it certainly didn't stop at Shakespeare; "W.I.T.C.H." had a few, my favorite being Xanadu. "The Spectacular Spider-Man" had plenty of Shakespeare as well as a classic reference to Dante's Divine Comedy. I'm a sucker for this sort of thing. But, to quote another reviewer named Dread: "I can say the biggest difference between this show and "ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN" is showcased in one detail; this show expects their audience to know who H.G. Welles is, while "USM" assumes kids have never done anything but play video games in their room or watch MTV." It's a sad state of affairs to see a series promoted as much as USM push and cater to ignorance. But, I suppose Jeph Loeb thinks if he caters to children who don't know what a book is and that have parents that won't push them to find out, he'll get more butts in to seats.

Finally, there's Red Arrow coming around and deciding to be more trusting and that there is no mole. At this point, I'm ruling out Artemis, Miss Martian, and Superboy as they are all too obvious, and have seemingly been cleared. There is no chance in hell it's Kid Flash or Robin. Zatanna is too new. That leaves Aqualad and.... Red Arrow himself. I guess we'll find out on Saturday when it hits the fan.

4 comments:

  1. I don't know much about King Faraday other than his appearance in JL: New Frontier, but in that he wore a suit and had white hair. So maybe Clancy Brown was cast because of the similarities to Captain Stacy, but the design is from the comics.

    I got a kick out of STAS Parasite, who's scope was only limited to the walls in front of him. It was something different from villains wanting to rule the world or taking revenge. This version was definitely creepy and a good use of the character and his potential as a villain. I do wonder how much experience he has since he didn't know he got weaknesses as well as superpowers, or at least he didn't know Martians were weak to fire, yet he has absorbed Martian Manhunter before.

    I don’t like the idea of kid sidekicks but I do like stories where the sidekick grows up and/or becomes their own hero.

    I have my ideas on who the mole could be, but I feel I'm missing a few links on the chain since my options have holes in them. Hopefully those holes will be filled next episode. (Don’t know why I say “hopefully” since this is Greg Weisman here ;) )

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  2. Personally I'm hoping it's Aqualad, because that development might actually *GASP*, make him more interesting than the boring stiff he is right now.

    Also, who says it's somebody on "The Team"? It could be a league member.

    When did Stan Lee say that? Then again I used to think the concept behind Transformers was lame, and it took "Beast Wars" to change my mind. Of course some of that might have had to do with my disdain for Power Rangers when I was a kid.

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  3. Nygma619> While I can't recall a specific interview off the top of my head, I know Stan Lee did have that sentiment about sidekicks that Greg B wrote. In the 60s, Rick Jones was the only sidekick in the Marvel Universe and he jumped between the Hulk and Captain American and Captain Marvel. And youthful superheroes like Spider-Man and the Human Torch would have been sidekicks at DC instead of full fledged superheroes in their own right. Also, when the Sub-Mariner, the original Human Torch and Captain America were revived, their sidekicks Namora, Toro and Bucky were not revived as well. At least, not immediately.

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  4. Just out of curiousity Greg, after Artemis who are your favorite characters on the team?

    I posted mine from a thread I started over at toonzone, but I won't get into specifics, except for that I didn't include Red Arrow on my list because Green Arrow's dialogue with him in "Insecurity" implies that he's Justice League bound by the end of the year.

    Anyways here are mine, in order:
    -Kid Flash (duh)
    -Artemis
    -Robin
    -Zatanna
    -Miss Martian
    -Superboy
    -Aqualad

    Feel like sharing yours Greg?

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