The Life & Times of an Auteur.

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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Insecurity


Another week, another episode of "Young Justice." The focus returns to Artemis, and considering she is my favorite character on The Team, that focus is always welcome. Out of all the characters on the main cast, Artemis feels the most like an original creation while not being an original creation. I'll admit to being ignorant of her key ingredients, I am aware of Artemis Crock and Arrowette, but I know nothing about them. But this Artemis has always felt like an original Weisman character, and is someone I could easily imagine in a "Gargoyles" spin-off, especially "Gargoyles: Bad Guys." I've always liked her design, and I really want to give a shout out to Stephanie Lemelin for always turning in a wonderful performance as Artemis.

While none of the revelations about Artemis' family relations came as a surprise to me, that did not make the episode any less engaging. Sportsmaster and Cheshire are both breakout villains on this show, at least for me. The choreography during the action scenes was terrific, and Kelly Hu's Cheshire relishes twisting the knife on her little sister, and even Red Arrow a little. Or a lot. But the meat is the denouement at the end between her and Sportsmaster. Surprising? Hardly. Engaging? You betcha.

Likewise, it was fun to see Wally's attitude mature. The lessons he learned in "Coldhearted" stuck, and he now knows how to prioritize. There has been chemistry between him and Artemis since moment one, but this is a relationship that is requiring both of them to grow up a little bit. A nice contrast to Superboy and Miss Martian's where they were pretty much a couple from the first moment, even if it took them a little while to kiss. This is not a critique of either relationship, just that I think Wally and Artemis will develop something with more substance. Superboy was born almost yesterday, and seems like a weird prop in M'Gann's sitcom fantasy world, and she is still lying to him. One of these relationships is slowly building a strong foundation, while the other is a house of cards. Well, to be fair, both Artemis and Miss Martian are lying to the entire team, but Artemis is hiding her family history, M'Gann is hiding who she actually is entirely. Both have their reasons, but... even with her secrets, Artemis feels a lot more honest than M'Gann does... the Justice League knows who she is, can they say as much about M'Gann?

The plotline of the mole has really kicked into high gear. What do we know? Well, at this point Miss Martian, Superboy, and Artemis all seem to have been compromised. Queen Bee is blackmailing Miss Martian. Lex Luthor can make Superboy do things. And Artemis doesn't want The Team to know who her family is. Now, I doubt any of these three are the mole. I have my own speculations, but without more information, I don't feel like tossing them out there in this review.

What are The Light doing? Well, whatever it is, it involves a combination of science and sorcery... a favorite combo of Demona's back during the days of "Gargoyles." And anyone familiar with that series knows just how dangerous that combination is. Klarion and the Brain seem like a fun odd couple of villains if I ever saw one.

On another note, we had Peter MacNicol as Professor Ivo, Lacey Chabert as Zatanna, Crispin Freeman as Red Arrow, Kelly Hu as Cheshire, Thom Adcox as Klarion, and... Josh Keaton as Black Spider. A "Spectacular Spider-Man" family reunion if I ever saw one. I loved it. Very, very much.

We're at the final stretch, three more episodes to go. I'm on the edge of my seat. Next week cannot come soon enough.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Legend of Korra


First, let me talk a little bit about "Avatar: The Last Airbender." There are very few animated series that I would use the word "masterpiece" to describe. I could count them on one hand, actually. But "Avatar" was easily one of them. Brilliant, almost flawless, breathtaking in it's scope. The series has been a pop culture phenomenon for several years now, and it's legacy even managed to remain untarnished after M. Night Shyamalan's 2010 cinematic abortion. Needless to say, the distant spin-off, "Legend of Korra" had a lot to live up to. Two episodes in, I feel I can safely say that it's doing just that. 

The animation industry has changed a lot over the last several years. The big studios seem less willing to take chances on something original. That's why most of the action-dramas seem to be adaptations of comic books staring marquee characters. While, I suppose one can hardly call "Legend of Korra" original, it still has it's roots in a property created for television animation, not an adaptation of a comic book or a twenty-two minute toy commercial. It's also refreshing to see a sequel series instead of reboot, as we have been seeing a lot lately. I remember some were taking me to task for trashing the atrocious 2011 "ThunderCats" series, and I stand by every word I said about that insult to anyone's intelligence... but I think those people were starved for an animated epic. I was too, and this is the show we've all been waiting for.

We're only two episodes in, and the show doesn't officially start for another few weeks. But in two episodes, we were introduced to our protagonist, her supporting cast, her world, and the seeds of conflict. Seventy years have passed since Sozin's Comet came. Aang has passed away, Sokka has passed away. Katara is still alive and is now "Gran Gran" to Tenzin's (her son with Aang) children. Toph is unaccounted for, but her daughter is the chief of police in Republic City. No word on whether Fire Lord Zuko is still among the living or not. But, this show isn't about them, and while nods to them and hints are fun, they're just gravy. The meat of the series is Korra and the new cast... and so far, that meat is a porterhouse.

At first glance, the villains and conflict may not seem as exciting as the Fire Nation and their hundred year war on the world, but the Equalists, a movement of normal humans who want to rid the world of benders feels like a natural outgrowth of the world as we saw it. Their leader, the masked Amon has the potential to be terrifying. We'll see where this goes.

I have no complaints about these first two episodes. Everything was perfect. Even Tenzin's young children were actually funny and not annoying. That's hard to do, since most kids on television fall into the category of annoying.

You don't need to know "Avatar the Last Airbender" inside and out to enjoy this series. Obviously the experience is enhanced if you are familiar with the previous show, but as I said before, it's just gravy. And ultimately, that's what all sequels or spin-offs should do.

It's an A+ show so far, and I expect a long, prosperous run for it. Hopefully, and especially with 90's nostalgia starting, it will open the door for another distant sequel by showing that there is a market and audience for this sort of thing, as opposed to a simple reboot. Time will tell, but I am hopeful.

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.

Oh, this is going to be the feel good movie of the year!



Hey, sometimes Darwin just needs a little help.

I remember once at the gas station, this d-bag pulls up in a convertible with the subwoofers set to afterburner, and just leaves it thumping full volume as he gets out to walk in and buy some smokes. I asked him politely if he could turn it down, he says "fark You", and goes on in.

I am standing there for what seems an eternity, with the gas pump nozzle in my hand and his car interior within easy reach. I imagined how I could get away with spraying the whole car or just locking the pump on and throwing the nozzle into the car and driving off. Of course, I knew I was on a TV camera, and I'm not a sociopath, so I didn't act on what was one of the strongest impulses in my life.

But I DId think about it.

I understand, deeply, this movie, I think.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Image


The fourth episode in a row to completely knock it out of the park. I am speechless. I suppose I shouldn't be, as I never disliked the show, I just didn't love it. But the creative team behind it has long ago earned my trust, and that trust has been paying off. This episode was great.

Let me be honest, up until now, I didn't care for Miss Martian, or that catch phrase. I wasn't complaining about it like other people were, because I knew that there is no way this team would put something as annoying as M'Gann crying "hello, Megan!" into the show without a damn good reason. While I saw the twist coming, I wasn't quite prepared for just how dark and disturbing the revelation would really be. In one fell swoop, she's become one of the darker characters on the team... a role that, for the most part, was held by Artemis. They weren't kidding when they said the theme of the season was "secrets and lies" and M'Gann is a pathological liar. Frying the brains of her friends, and maybe mindwiping Psimon just to keep her secret.

I figured she modeled herself after a sitcom star, but I was unaware of just how much. She even named Connor after "Megan's" love interest in the sitcom. Cute theme song for that sitcom, by the way. Very 1980's. But Garfield was wrong, it can't be that rare a series, since it was on TV in Artemis' apartment several episodes back. Marie Logan was justified in being put off by her at first. Although it was touching when Marie finally came around after M'Gann saved her son's life.

And here's a quick note, Connor and M'Gann are kinky teens. I don't know how far they've actually gone together, but I tend to think they've done more than kiss by now. Who else has she transformed into when they've gotten busy? Okay, enough of my verbal voyeurism... but that was a pretty big entendre.

I enjoyed the return of Psimon, especially when he got into M'Gann's head and tore down all her defenses laying all of her secrets out in front of her. Her true form is... hideous. Monstrous even. I feel bad saying so about what we've been told in the past is an oppressed minority... but I am curious as to exactly how much Martian Manhunter knows about her. And what else has she lied about? Her entire life is, at this point, a lie... and now she is beginning to feel the consequences of those lies, and it's only going to get worse for her. But, suddenly, I like this character. I didn't like her before now, but... talk about a one-eighty.

The conflict between Bialya and Qurac was nice, and pretty topical considering current events in the Middle East. We've gone through Arab Spring and the toppling of tyrannical regimes. I know Bialya is an acronym for Libya, and sadly they haven't had a chance to put down their own dictator, but as a political junkie, this made it even more fun to watch.

I can't end this review without mentioning Queen Bee, and Marina Sirtis. I've been waiting to see, and hear, more of her and I was not disappointed. The way the episode ended, I know we'll be seeing and hearing even more from her and I cannot get enough of Marina's voice. But I've been a big fan of Marina Sirtis for longer than either of us would care to admit, which is funny considering I never much cared for the character of Deanna Troi. Marina may have been put on the map by playing the nicest character in the universe, but villainous roles like Demona and now, Queen Bee, are where she shines. I definitely cracked a smile at that line about how Queen Bee can enthrall "most men and some women" although, I tend to think that's a Marina Sirtis ability more than anything... fifty-six years old, and still gorgeous.

Loved it, can't wait to see what comes next.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

All Star Superman

So, I finally read Grant Morrison's "All Star Superman." People kept telling me to read it, they said I would finally get Superman. I would finally understand why people love him.

I was not impressed, and my mind was not changed. If anything, this cemented my negative feelings for the character. I get that the reason he behaves perfect is that he is supposed to represent the best of us. But "the best of us" does not make for an interesting character. I just wanted to shove a finger down my throat. I am not anti-hero. I am just pro-multifaceted, three-dimensional characters. If this is Superman at his best, then I'll stick with the more "human," "understandable" and "flawed versions, if I subject myself to him at all. If I want a perfect man, I'll read the Gospels.

I admit that I did somewhat enjoy Lex Luthor in this story, and he is a character I very rarely enjoy. And it made a good "final story" for him. I guess, plot-wise it was a decent "Death of Superman" story. Certainly better than being punched over and over by Doomsday. It was a well told tale, but... it just outlined why I have never and will never like this character.

Sorry for the short entry, but I wanted to post something today. Instead, let me list some great heroes who are better characters than Superman.

Henry V
Edgar (King Lear)
Mark Antony (Julius Caesar)
Claudio (Much Ado About Nothing)
Othello
Hamlet
Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing)
Titus Andronicus
Spider-Man
Goliath (Gargoyles)
Elisa Maza (Gargoyles)
King Arthur
Batman
Frodo Baggins
Samwise Gamgee
Aragorn
Ellen Ripley
Captain John Sheridan
Susan Ivanova
Delenn
G'Kar
Luke Skywalker
Hercules
Perseus
Thor
Captain America
Iron Man
Beowulf
Guts
Spike Spiegal
Harry Dresden
Han Solo
Princess Leia
Peter Venkman
Sam Spade
Rick Blaine
Beatrix Kiddo
Aldo Rayne
Clarice Starling
Sarah Conner
The Dude
John McClane
Buffy Summers
Malcolm Reynolds
Angel
Richard Castle
Sherlock Holmes
Indiana Jones
Brock Samson
Wonder Woman
Hal Jordan
Luke Cage
Jessica Jones
V
Rorschach
Daredevil
Harry Potter
Hermione Granger
Ron Weasley
Neville Longbottom
Severus Snape
Faramir
Captain Kirk
Spock
Captain Picard
Link (Legend of Zelda)
Solid Snake (Metal Gear)
Aang (Avatar the Last Airbender)
Prince Zuko (Avatar the Last Airbender)
Will Vandom (W.I.T.C.H.)
Chief Brody (Jaws)
Optimus Prime
Rodimus Prime
Optimus Primal
Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mocking Bird)
James Bond
Will Kane (High Noon)
Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry)
Robin Hood
Spartacus
Lassie
Frank Serpico (Serpico)
Zorro
Nick Fury
Hawkeye
Black Widow
Dexter Morgan
Stephen Colbert

Monday, March 12, 2012

Game Change


I went back and forth deciding whether I was going to review this. But, I've already broken my no politics rules more than a few times, but I think it's safe to say that I have not broken my no partisanship rules. This is actually pretty easy for me as I am not the sort of person who can be pigeonholed politically. I have liberal views, Libertarian views, and some conservative views too. I've never voted a straight party line, and I very likely won't be voting for the Democratic or Republican candidates this November.

Remember when we didn't know who Sarah Palin was? I know that seems like a million years ago, but I remember the day quite well when John McCain trotted her on stage and the first thing I said was "who the hell is she?" Actually, I used another four letter word. My roommate didn't know who she was, and I went to Arizona with some friends for the weekend, all very well read and educated people, and none of them had a clue who she was either. I like to think most sane people in either of the big two parties would love to go back to those days when we had no idea who she was. As a pretty big fan of the late Barry Goldwater, I think he would have been appalled with her.

Now, I am sure there are those who would dismiss this as a leftist hatchet job, but this is very much Steve Schmidt's story. He has confirmed everything in both the book and this movie. He handled the day to day operations of McCain's campaign. He was a Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush and Counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney. This man is hardly a liberal operative. I know Palin's become very popular with the extremist wing of the GOP which is, sadly, no longer the fringe of the party, but the fact is that she was dangerously unqualified for the position. I know John McCain himself has denounced this movie, and I respect that. Despite some of my own disagreements with him, I've always liked McCain. He is an honorable man and he is not going to throw his former running mate under the bus, and I respect that. He made a bad choice, and while I cannot pretend to know what he really thinks, I would like to think he knows it and is living with it.

Julianne Moore plays Sarah Palin, and her performance is so dead on, it's frightening. Not once while watching this movie did I feel like I was watching an actor playing a caricature. This already puts it light years ahead of Oliver Stone's "W." where everyone except for Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, and James Cromwell felt more like rejects from an SNL skit. Even Richard Dreyfuss' Dick Cheney there felt like Lord Voldemort more than an actual human being. But here, Julianne Moore disappeared into the role completely. If I was told that this was actual candid footage of Sarah Palin, I would believe it.

Former Sarah Palin Adviser Says ‘Game Change’ Was ‘True Enough to Make Me Squirm’

What draws us back to this story? I think Sarah Palin's story is fascinating in the same way a train wreck is fascinating. I think as a politician in the truest sense of the word, she is brilliant. Ignorant and uneducated regarding items and information pertinnant to holding national office? Without question. That isn't opinion, it is fact. They showed a few bits of Tina Fey doing her impression of Palin. Why was it so funny at the time? Because it was true. Biden used to take a beating as well from the late night hosts and SNL for saying some absurd stuff. Again, funny because it was true. Her knowledge of world affairs was shocking. Her ignorance when she came on board the campaign was mind boggling. How does someone become the governor of a state without knowing that North and South Korea are separate countries? How does someone become a vice presidential candidate without knowing what the Fed is? How could she not be able to name one Supreme Court case?

As the movie closes, Rick Davis (played by Peter MacNicol) says to Steve Schmidt (played by Woody Harrelson) at the concession speech that in forty-eight hours, no one will remember who Sarah Palin is. And Palin is up there basking in the applause with a shit-eating grin on her face. I remember that grin in real life at that moment too, and I can only say that I wish Davis was correct. Because what we ended up with spoke to the darkest corners of populism I have seen in my lifetime.

At the end of the movie, McCain tells Palin she was now a party leader, don't get co-opted by Limbaugh and the other extremists, they'll destroy the party if you let them. Was that real, was it from actual recollection? Or was it dramatization? It felt like dramatic license, and yet the show did remind me of those very real moments in those crowds. I especially remember the time McCain responded to the old lady in the crowd, how he politely took the mic from her and defended Obama's Americanism. So I can imagine that McCain might have said something like that to Palin, at the end.

Ultimately, this movie pointed out something very truthful. In this age of the twenty-four hour news cycle, and YouTube, our political machine has turned into a bad reality TV show. We will never elect the next Thoma Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln again.  Now, to my friends who are still Obamamaniacs, I will toss you all a bone and say the jury is still out on him. But the sad reality of politics now is the president has to be more of a celebrity than a statesman in order to be elected, and Palin was, again, dangerously unqualified.

Well, I'm sure I alienated someone, but I thought it was a pretty good movie. If you have a chance to see it, I recommend it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Transformers - Hall of Fame 2012 - Yesss




Well, it's that time of year again. Hasbro is running their poll for the 2012 Transformers Hall of Fame

Let's run down the list, and I'll give my thoughts on each of the nominees.

Megatron (Beast Wars): I know I'm voting for him, you know I'm voting for him. Quite possibly the greatest villain in the entire multversal mythos of the Transformers. Smart, cunning, ruthless, and with a slick air of charm about him. He was an evil genius, who had more character and brains in one finger than the original Megatron had in his entire body. I love this guy. I've said so before and I'll say this again, anyone who prefers the G1 Megatron is either a nostalgic fuckwit, or has "a condition."

Wheeljack: He built the Dinobots, and... um... I've got nothing.

Arcee: Real femmes don't wear pink.

Rodimus: If Megs weren't in this poll, Rodimus would get my vote. He had something Optimus Prime didn't have, he was a three-dimensional character. He changed and grew over the course of the entire third season of the series before settling into the leadership role that was thrust onto him. Then all that character development got thrown out the window because kids cried at a movie theater. But, Megs is here so sorry, Rodimus. Better luck next year.

Sky-Byte: Ha ha ha ha ha!You know, I'm tempted to support him. RiD sucked, but Sky-Byte was fun, the bright spot in that series. However... no, I can't do it. But seeing him there did make me smile.

Coldhearted


"Young Justice" goes single focus this week with an episode centering square on our favorite obnoxious speedster, Wally West. As far as character development goes, I think Wally especially needed an episode like this. I wasn't disappointed. I think we can all relate on one level, no matter how old we get, we all want our birthdays to be special, even if we say we don't. Did Wally's go well? Sure... in the end. It looks like he's finally maturing. More on that in a bit.

Artemis is my favorite character on The Team, and I loved that moment where she decided to spill the beans to Wally about Miss Martian and Superboy being an item. That she chose to deflate him like this was so mean, and yet you can't feel too bad for him because he really had it coming. I like to think Wally choosing not to dwell on it is another mark that he's maturing. This episode was all about him learning how to prioritize.

I thought his cross country run was fun to watch. Now, I am sure some people will complain that he can't move at the speed of light, or however fast the character can run in the comics, but I don't like my heroes and villains to be overpowered, it removes the tension if, say, Superman is strong enough to move planets, or the Hulk can prevent the entire continent of Australia from ripping in half. I saw one person ask why the closest available heart for a patient in Seattle was all the way in Boston, but I would hope most would remember that hearts with matching blood types for complex transplants don't grow on trees.

Let's talk about the villains for a moment. Vandal Savage was fun to watch for his brief scene, slowing down Wally. This guy is just a beast. He really lives up to his name, and I enjoyed hearing Miguel Ferrer's voice again. I also thought it was fun that this didn't seem to be his plan, so much as he was doing a favor for Count Vertigo. Actually, I wonder if this was Savage returning a favor, since Vertigo acted as his proxy in the Injustice League back in "Revelation." I would say that I hope we see more of Vandal, but I know we are going to.

But the true villain of the piece had to be Count Vertigo. I'm not too familiar with Vertigo, but he was a great villain in this episode. It was just diabolical in its simplicity. Have The Light distract both the Justice League and The Team, slow down Kid Flash, and let Queen Perdita die so he can become king. And, I'm going to be honest, considering just how dark this series has gotten, and how successful the villains have been... I actually believed he won. I thought the episode would end wit The Light declaring their triumph that they have an ally of theirs on the throne of Vlatava. So, I was as surprised as Vertigo was when the curtain was pulled back.

I suppose the only question left is, how did The Light pull off freezing half of the country? They have control of Belle Reve, so it's conceivable they could sneak the ice villains in and out. Is that what they did, or were they using advanced tech from Apokolips? Well, I guess we'll find out soon.

The animation in this episode was just stunning, particularly the snow effects. I hope for a Blu-ray release.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Limbaugh vs Maher

Normally, I would not comment on this sort of thing here. But all too often, I get the sense that most people don't know what the FCC's jurisdiction actually is.

If you've been living under a rock, Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student, Sandra Fluke, a slut, a whore and a prostitute for testifying before Congress in favor of employers being required to cover insurance for contraception. Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a cunt because, well, because she's Sarah Palin. Now, quite a few conservative minded people are calling on the FCC to take Maher off the air.

The petition is located here, if you wish to sign it.

Here's the thing; the FCC was created to regulate BROADCAST media over PUBLIC airwaves. Cable is neither broadcast nor public.

1. HBO is a cable subscription service. It is not under the jurisdiction of the FCC. It can show hardcore porn if it wants (and nearly does).

2. No one is trying to get Rush booted off the air. Rush's advertisers and sponsors have withdrawn their support because they disagree with his behavior. This is the free market at work.

3. Bill Maher bashed Sarah Palin, a public figure, because of things she said. Rush bashed Sandra Fluke, a private citizen, because of things she is not. While arguments can be made for or against the tastefulness of either incident, they are not the same and equating the two is a false proposition.

4. There is no apology from HBO because HBO likely does not care. Similarly, there is no apology from Clear Channel because it's likely that Clear Channel doesn't care. Neither station has apologized, only Rush has apologized. The fallacy is in comparing a cable station (HBO) with Rush Limbaugh (a radio program and personality). This really should've been pointed at Bill Maher and questioning why he does not apologize. And, consequently, the reason why he does not apologize is probably because he does not care.

5. There is no conspiracy to protect Bill Maher's vitriol from being front page news. Bill Maher actually has been confronted over his controversial views toward conservative females, sometimes in person and on the air (and you really have to give it up for Elizabeth Hasselbeck for getting out the claws for this one). Furthermore, he has been reprimanded several times in the past including losing his job with ABC for his controversial views on 9/11.

6. This is not a free speech issue or an inalienable rights issue. This is a money issue. Rush apologized because his show, which depends on advertizing, is losing money. Bill Maher did not apologize because he's on cable, which depends on subscriptions. If you want to attack Bill Maher for his opinions about Sarah Palin, start a campaign to get people to cancel their HBO subscription and make sure you get them to let HBO know that their cancelling it because of Bill Maher. Then maybe the company will listen.

So, to the right-wingers who are flipping out about this, this is what happens when the free market decides. Isn't this what you wanted? Personally, I happen to be a Libertarian. This is certainly what I want.

Also, if Bill Maher said something that legally met the definition of defamation, then Palin can sue him. If not, then sticks and stones, etc...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Young Justice - As You Demanded It!

Some people have been complaining about "Young Justice." A lot of people don't seem to like the teenage angst, how Superman is... concerned... about being cloned against his will, and some even think the villains are way too smart. I decided to give them something that I think will be more up their alley.


Mount Justice -- Other cartoons don't give date and time stamps, we should stop putting in the effort.


Superman lands in the cave and finds Superboy.

Superboy: Daddy! I missed you!

Superboy leaps off the couch and runs up to Superman where the two hug and kiss.

Superman: Ready for the picnic, junior?

Superboy: Gee whiz, dad. Can I bring my girlfriend, Megan?

Superman: I don't see why not. How are you and the rest of the team faring?

Superboy: Terrific. Aqualad is my best friend in the whole world.

Superman: I'm glad to hear it. I love you, junior.

Superboy: I love you too, dad.

The Hall of Doom


Vandal Savage stands at his podium and addresses the Legion of Doom.

Vandal Savage: Our mole within Mount Justice tells us that Superman, Superboy, and that teenage martian are going for a picnic in the Golden Meadow of Friendship. Now is the time to strike. Bwa ha ha!

Lex Luthor: Vandal, what have I told you about stealing my lines?

Vandal Savage: Oh, I am so sorry, Mr. Luthor. I forgot that you are the only one allowed to be the Uber-Supervillain in an animated DC show.

Queen Bee: Like, yeah, Vandal. Show some respect.

Queen Bee gets up and starts giving Lex Luthor a lap dance. Vandal Savage sits down in his seat and Luthor stands at the podium as Queen Bee continues to give him a G-rated dry-humping.

Lex Luthor: Our mole within Mount Justice tells us that Superman, Superboy, and that teenage martian are going for a picnic in the Golden Meadow of Friendship. Now is the time to strike. Bwa ha ha!

Ra's al Ghul:  Brilliant strategy, my lord Luthor. Brilliant.

A hockey puck slides across the room and Sportsmaster, Cheshire, and Red Volcano come into the great room on roller blades chasing it.

Lex Luthor: Sportsmaster, you fool! Does this look like a playground? We are conducting important work here! Bwa ha ha!

Sportsmaster: I'm sorry, Mr. Luthor. Please don't holler at me.

Lex Luthor: Well, you should be.

Klarion: What if we make a Kryptonite hockey puck, go to the Golden Meadow of Friendship and challenge Superman and those teeny boppers to a hockey game?

Lex Luthor: Brilliant plan, I'm glad I thought of it. Bwa ha ha!

The assembled villains all join him in an echoing Bwa ha ha!

The Golden Meadow of Friendship - On a bright and sunny day


Superman stands at the barbeque making weenies and hamburgers while Superboy and Miss Martian play checkers.

Superman: Hamburger or hotdog?

Superboy: Veggieburger, dad. Cows have feelings too, we shouldn't eat them.

Miss Martian: How progressive of you, Superboy. I love you.

Miss Martian leans in to kiss him on the cheek, but Superboy pulls away.

Superboy: Now, now, M'Gann. Not until we are married.

Miss Martian: Hello, Megan! What was I thinking? I'm so sorry.

Superman: You're both great kids.

Suddenly, an evil flying saucer descends in the Golden Meadow of Friendship and out of it step Lex Luthor, Vandal Savage, Sportsmaster, Klarion, and Queen Bee. The guys all wearing roller blades and hockey masks. Queen Bee dressed as a cheerleader.

Lex Luthor: Hello, Superfool!

Superman: Luthor. What do you want now?

Lex Luthor: A challenge. If your team can beat us at hockey, you can throw us all in jail where we will reflect on the nasty things we have done, reform and eventually take jobs at the Peace Corps. But if we win, you and the Justice League surrender... and the Legion of Doom shall spread The Dark all across the world!

Superman: Looks like we have no choice. Let me assemble my team.

Lex Luthor: By all means.

Aqualad, Kid Flash, Robin, Zatanna and Artemis arrive. All dressed in hockey uniforms, except the girls who are dressed as cheerleaders. Superman and Superboy don hockey uniforms and rollerblades too, while Miss Martian joins Artemis and Zatanna, opposite Queen Bee as cheerleaders.

Lex Luthor: Let the game begin.

Sportsmaster hits the kryptonite puck with his hockey stick, sending it flying towards Superman!!!!! But Kid Flash spots it, and using the Speed Force, he runs at ten times the speed of light to grab the kryptonite before it can hit Superman and throws it into space, directly towards the center of the sun.

Lex Luthor: No!

Superman: Cheaters never prosper, Luthor.

The young heroes and Superman capture the Legion of Doom.

Lex Luthor: Bah! No prison can hold us, we'll be back to menace you all next week!

Robin: And we'll be waiting, baldy!

The Legion of Doom are taken away, and Superman and heroes turn towards the camera.

Superman: And remember, winners don't use drugs. Right kids?

Superboy, Robin, Miss Martian, Artemis, Kid Flash, Zatanna: Right, Supes!

We fade to black as they all laugh.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Misplaced



Back when I reviewed "Revelation" in October, I said: "I hope the next time someone puts that helmet on, taking it off does not come so easily." Yeah, I think it's safe to say I'm a sadistic monster and that I got what I wanted. More on that in a bit.

Upon reading the summary for "Misplaced," I will admit that I rolled my eyes a little at the set-up. All adults disappearing, in a world with only kids. I've seen it before, and it's almost always played in a very goofy manner. It's a cliche that I've found very tiring. But as the episode began, and the adults disappeared, I said to myself "wow, this is pretty dark" and frankly, I should have expected that from a series that is pretty dark in general. I was actually digging it. A cliche that I hate, and I was digging it. And that was before Act Two started and we found out the adults weren't actually gone. By the time the third act got going, and Captain Marvel was warping between dimensions to keep both the Team and the Leaguers up to speed on what the other side was doing, I was loving it.

I thought this episode was Captain Marvel's best showing to date. Now, I've never read a comic with Captain Marvel before in my life. I'm aware of the set-up, who he is, but he's another concept I always found corny. In this episode, well, he was really the key to cracking it open. The rather silly concept (okay, all superheroes are silly concepts when we get down to it) was played straight, and so honest that I forgot how corny I've always found the character.

But the real meat of the episode was Zatanna, whom I've enjoyed since she first appeared on this show. I will admit, I saw the tragedy coming pretty early in the episode. I just knew Zatara was going to end up as the new vessel of Nabu. What I didn't see coming was that Zatanna would put on the helmet of Fate first. So, instead of Zatara sacrificing himself to save the world from Klarion, he sacrifices himself to save his daughter. While both are heroic, the latter is just much more moving, and personal. Zatanna did take the helmet off, and it did not come easy. I've been clamoring for Zatanna to join the team since she first appeared, and like with the Helmet, I got what I wanted. Albeit through tragic circumstances. But, as established earlier, I am a sadistic monster.

I saw the Light's Xanatos Gambit coming a mile away, but I did enjoy it. And now we get another piece of the puzzle. So, Riddler is an agent of the Light, eh? Cool. And I always love me some evil Thom Adcox.

Overall, a solid episode for the series to return on. Thus far, "Young Justice" has been a series I like a lot, but not one that I love... which, in spite of my liking it a lot, made it a tad disappointing to me. I love "Gargoyles," I loved "Spectacular Spider-Man," I even loved "W.I.T.C.H." once I allowed myself to get past the fairy wings on the teenage girls and actually watch it. Is my being disappointed for just liking it a lot unfair? Yes... but I guess I hold Greg Weisman's shows to much higher standards, the same way I hold Martin Scorsese, or David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, or the Coen Brothers to higher standards than I hold, let's say Joe Johnston. But the past few episodes, particularly "Secrets" and "Humanity" have just knocked it out of the park. And with a welcome return, and things looking to climax over the next seven episodes, I might end up loving "Young Justice" after all.