Now this is how superheroes inspire people! I want to join his Justice League!
A four-year-old dons a cape and dresses up as his favourite superhero to go litter picking in a bid to rid his home town of rubbish.
Originally at www.dailymail.co.uk
Now this is how superheroes inspire people! I want to join his Justice League!
A four-year-old dons a cape and dresses up as his favourite superhero to go litter picking in a bid to rid his home town of rubbish.
Originally at www.dailymail.co.uk
“Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.”
Oh great. It’s not bad enough I’m in a Godfather movie, so I probably have the life expectancy of a mayfly in a cancer ward, I’m in The Godfather: Part III. Still, even The Godfather: Part III would be preferable to where I’m actually going. You guessed it; “The Trial of The Flash.”
Just in case your family took you out of school to go down to Disney World so you don’t know what we’ve been doing for the past three weeks, we’re talking about the episode of The Flash in which The Flash’s secret identity of Barry Allen was on trial for murdering Clifford DeVoe. Barry didn’t kill Devoe. He was framed.
I thought I had covered just about everything this episode had to offer. But the episode contradicted me. It was large, it contained multitudes. There are a couple of aspects I haven’t touched on. Until now. They both have to do with Cecille Horton, Barry’s defense attorney.
When Cecille was introduced, she called herself the district attorney of Central City. And that’s what her entry in the Arrowverse Wiki says she is, the Central City District Attorney. But every time Cecille ever did something, her every action made herself seem like a district attorney for the county, not Central City. I realize the show could have been indulging in shorthand. The show might not have wanted to specify the name of the county that contains Central City. So rather than say Cecille was the District Attorney of Yada Yada County, it just said she was the Central City District Attorney. But the show kept having her do things more consistent with the County District Attorney, not the Central City District Attorney.
There is a huge difference between a city district attorney and a county district attorney. So let me elucidate on the elusive state of DA differences.
Most states have cities and counties. (Two states – Alaska and Louisiana, parish the thought – don’t have counties.) The Flash takes place in Missouri, so said the episode “The Man in the Yellow Suit,” and Missouri has counties.
Something else most states have is city courts and county courts. Missouri has both types of courts. Missouri calls its county courts circuit courts, but what’s in a name other than four letters? The function of Missouri’s circuit courts, like the function of all county courts, is to be the court of original jurisdiction for the county. City courts, on the other hand, are the courts of original jurisdiction for the city in which they sit. Both city courts and county courts handle civil and criminal matters. We’re concerned with criminal matters, so we’ll leave the civil matters alone. Just as well, people tell me I’m not very good at being civil anyway.
City courts handle criminal violations of the city’s ordinances . These crimes are misdemeanors; less serious crimes such as simple theft, simple assault, or simple simonizing. County courts are responsible for prosecuting felonies. You know the big crimes like murder, kidnapping, or arson; the kind that are featured in TV shows, because no one wants to a watch an hour of someone on trial for jaywalking.
Cities have district attorney offices. So do counties. The city’s DA office prosecutes people charged with violating city ordinances in a city court. The county DA’s office would be responsible for prosecuting felonies, which are violations of state law, not city ordinances.
If Cecille were the Central City District Attorney, she would be a municipal prosecutor and her office would only handle misdemeanors. However, Cecille frequently involved herself in felony matters which would be beyond the scope of a city DA. So I think Cecille was supposed to be the County DA, but the show referred to her as the Central City DA because it didn’t have to name the county. Moreover, the show said Cecille was the district attorney, not a district attorney. That would mean Cecille wasn’t an assistant district attorney – like Michael Moriarty’s character on Law & Order – but the county DA – like Stephen Hill’s character on Law & Order.
And therein lies one of those multitudes I was talking about. Make Cecille the county DA, not an assistant DA, and neither she nor her office could have prosecuted Barry Allen.
See, in addition to being the county DA, Cecille was also the fiancée of Detective Joe West of the Central City Police Department. Yes, the same Joe West who happened to be both Barry Allen’s foster father and Barry’s current father-in-law. That means Cecille was about become Barry’s mother-in-law and his foster step-mother. I’m not sure even Albert Einstein could solve that particular theory of relativity, but what it boils down to is that Cecille is part of Barry’s family.
Cecille would have a conflict of interests and wouldn’t be able to prosecute a family member. If Cecille were just an assistant district attorney, her office could have Chinese walled Cecille so that she was insulated and never had any contact or dealings with the ADAs handling Barry’s case. But if Cecille is the county district attorney not an ADA – and she’s billed as the district attorney not a district attorney – then she’d be responsible for overseeing everyone’s work in the office and that wall wouldn’t be of China so much as it would of Jericho. If Cecille is the county DA, her whole office would have had to recuse itself from Barry’s case and the Attorney General would have appointed a special prosecutor to handle it.
Moreover, if Cecille were the county district attorney, there is simply no way she would be able to take a leave of absence from the DA’s office to handle Barry’s defense. She would have had privileged work product information of how the case against Barry was prepared. Barry may have the constitutional right to the attorney of his choice, but that choice would be trumped by the Code of Professional Responsibility. Not even the attorney of choice may represent someone if that representation is an ethical violation.
However, Cecille’s office wasn’t removed and Cecille was able to represent Barry. So maybe Cecille is just the Central City district attorney and not the county district attorney. And maybe I don’t know what kind of district attorney Cecille is, city or county. However, even if I don’t know what kind of DA Cecille is, as I’ve said before, I know what kind of lawyer she is.
A bad one.
Summer is hot. Literally. We are very aware of our bodies, and the bodies of those around us. We wear lighter clothes. We wear sunglasses and/or glamorous hats.
Love is in the air, or at least lust.
Naturally, I asked myself, “What do superheroes do about this?”
I mean, skin-tight costumes are hot. Literally. And while certain superpowers like invulnerability might make it easier to wear synthetic fabrics or leather, that still doesn’t explain how a Batman can get through a humid Gotham summer.
I guess he’s had his mind on other things. Last month, he proposed to Catwoman Selina Kyle, on a rooftop, both dressed in their superhero outfits.
Neither one of them appeared to be sweating. Although it’s raining, so maybe that made a difference.
I like the Batman/Catwoman romance. I liked it in the old comics I read as a kid, and I liked it in The Dark Knight Rises. I loved it. I loved the Alan Brennert story, The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne, where they got married the first time.
I’m not sure I love this Batman and this Catwoman together.
There are a lot of iconic relationships in comics. Because some characters have been in existence for more than 75 years, these relationships have gone through a lot of ups and downs. If you’re a continuity geek (and sometimes I am, but not about this), you can make yourself crazy with the seeming contradictions over the years. Is Lois Lane a jealous snoop, or an independent professional dedicated to her craft? Is Carol Ferris a stuck-up heiress or a lonely little rich girl? Is Iris West a busybody nagging busybody or simply a person who doesn’t like to be lied to? Is Steve Trevor a macho man or a wimp?
Instead, I choose to see these relationships as reflections of both their times and the people (usually men) who write them. This is especially obvious in stories from the 1970s and 1980s when the modern day feminist movement achieved its first successes. You can tell that the writers (and, probably, editors) know something is happening, but they aren’t sure what they are supposed to do about it. So you get a lot of female characters proclaiming themselves “women’s libbers” while wearing hot pants.
(Note: I’m not saying no feminist ever wore hot pants, or that wearing hot pants is anti-feminist. I’m just saying it wasn’t as common in real life as it was in say, Metropolis.)
Today, with movies and television as well as comics, we have a lot of different versions of the same relationships from which to choose. I enjoy Lois and Clark in the Superman comics, who are comfortable being married and being parents. I enjoy Barry Allen and Iris West on the television Flash, mostly because Candice Patton is so refreshingly straightforward. I thought the Wonder Woman/Steve Trevor dynamic in the new Wonder Woman was totally believable, way more than it has been in the comics for decades.
I’m not so sure about the current versions of Batman and Catwoman. Bruce Wayne has been through even more trauma than usual lately, what with losing Tim Drake and everything. If I were his shrink, I would advise him to wait at least a year before making any life-changing decisions. I know he’s hurting, but divorce would hurt even more.
At least until the next ret-con.
My friend Paul Guinan put an interesting post up on his Facebook page yesterday. It sparked an equally interesting discussion, and, evidently, you can have discussions on Facebook that are not all salvos of rants.
Paul wrote: “I grew up with Superman being a character of pure good. Every once in a while something like Red Kryptonite would cause him to do some bad things – nothing too bad – and he would be forgiven and once again beloved. He wasn’t a morose, frowning, reluctant hero, he enjoyed his life and mission.
“Batman was a victim of gun violence. Bob Kane flirted with the idea of Batman carrying twin pistols for a very brief moment (a holdover from Batman’s inspiration, The Shadow), but seminal writers like Bill Finger solidified the code of Batman not carrying firearms. It made great thematic sense. Batman would sock a villain on the jaw, or throw his Batarang at a them – not beat them to a pulp and wind up with bloodied gloves. Batman is a scientist, detective, and martial arts expert. Such training develops character that’s in contradiction to being a rageaholic.
“Wonder Woman is the Princess of Peace, an ambassador for justice. Yes, she’s descended from Amazon warriors – but who had come to live a life of peace and tranquility on a secluded island. The Wonder Woman I grew up with wouldn’t carry a sword or shield, as that would be a sign of using men’s instruments of war to resolve conflicts. Her weapon? A Lasso of Truth! The villain would be socked on the jaw, tied up with the magic lasso, and be calmed.
“If the evolution over generations of an iconic character reflects society, then such indicators reveal we are becoming way too cynical and mean. Shouldn’t that be an opportunity to provide role models who inspire us to be greater, rather than reinforce our negative natures?
“I write this after seeing the second trailer for Batman v Superman, in which the DC trio is constantly angry – even Clark Kent! The trailer climaxes in a shot of the DC trio. Superman is wearing a suit more dark and sinister than the outfit worn by “evil” Christopher Reeve in Superman III. Wonder Woman is dressed in a dark monochrome knockoff of the outfit worn by Xena, brandishing a sword. Batman looks as he should be is carrying a rifle. WTF? Sigh.”
I’m a founding member of the dark “grim ‘n’ gritty” hero (or anti-hero) club. GrimJack, Amanda Waller, my remaking of some established heroes – if I can find some tarnish to put on a hero’s armor, I’m known to apply it. However, I’m also not without sympathy for Paul’s point of view. The notion appears to be that if it’s darker, the story is more “realistic,” it’s more relatable to the reader/audience. That notion pervades not only comics but the movie and television adaptations of them.
And yet, what is my favorite superhero adaptation right now on TV? It’s not Gotham, it’s not Arrow – it’s The Flash. The main reason is that Barry Allen is presented as a hero, that he wants to be a hero, and that people respond to him as a hero. The show doesn‘t pretend it’s easy but that it is worthwhile. The show also really honors its roots and is often very funny. It’s well written and acted. It’s also very much in the tradition of the character as published by DC for the past few decades.
One of the issues raised is that many of the movies (Man of Steel was cited and, potentially, Suicide Squad might be another) are not meant to be for all ages. The attitude of some appears to be that superhero movies should be, at best, all ages or even kid centric, that superheroes are essentially a child’s fantasy, but this flies in the face of what movies are about commercially: studios want to put as many butts in the seats and eyes on the screens that they can. The movies that have been made so far have reaped tons of money and that tells the studios this is what the audiences want. If a little of this is good, more is better. Don’t fool yourself; plenty of kids went to see them as well and bought lots of the paraphernalia connected with it (and that’s where the real money is made).
Kids are not all that sheltered, either. Take a look at some of the video games that are popular. Kids know more than when I was a kid; take a look at the world around us. ISIL, climate change, the very real possibility the seas are dying (and with it all of life) – when I was growing up, we only had the specter of World War III to cope with. If movies are darker it’s because the world that the kids must cope with is also getting darker.
However, it’s not simply the dark and the grim that makes money. Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ant-Man were very successful at the box office and they were for a more general audience. They were brighter and more fun and more hopeful. Meaning what? That, as usual, it’s not all one thing or the other.
I believe that all characters and concepts cannot stay stuck in one time or era. To remain viable, they must be re-interpreted for the time in which they are in. They have to be part of the world that the reader/audience inhabits. That world, our world, has grown darker in the past few decades. The comics and the movies did not cause that; they reflect it.
That said, there also has to be hope. There desperately needs to be hope today. That also should be reflected in our movies and our superheroes.
If that sounds like I’m conflicted, I am. I see both sides’ views and sympathize with all of them. I’m looking forward to the Suicide Squad movie; the trailer suggests to me that they got what I was doing and it will be part of the movie. That said, I’d also like Superman to be a bit brighter than they seem to be making him, to represent the best in us. That was my Superman.
Oh, and he should wear red trunks. Definitely they should bring back the red trunks.
For rent: Secret laboratory. Ideal for mad scientists, superheroes and their posses.
Now, about those posses: time was when superheroes operated pretty much alone, or with a sidekick, who could be anyone from the original Green Lantern’s cab driving Doiby Dickles to Batman’s intrepid though preadolescent Robin. Oh, there were other continuing characters in your basic superhero saga – think Jimmy Olsen and Commissioner Gordon – but when it came to doing the daring deeds the folk in the costumes usually flew solo.
Then things evolved and –
Almost certainly, a lot more people will see Supergirl on television this week than ever read one of the Maid of Might’s comic books. She’s plenty super – give her that – and as bonuses, attractive and charmiing, but she doesn’t fight evil by herself. No, she’s allied with a brainy group of colleagues who hang their doctorates in a secret lab. And if we scan the videoscape, we see that Supergirl has peers. The other two television title characters most like their comic book inspirations, Arrow and the Flash, also have lab-dwelling cohorts who can always be depended on to have the information the good guy/girl needs.
Structurally, the three shows – Supergirl, Arrow, and Flash – are virtually identical. And, again structurally, they’re pretty close to Archie Andrews, that teenage scamp, and the gang at Riverdale High. The biggest difference is that the Riversiders have no laboratory, but nobody’s perfect.
There’s a lot to be said for adding pals to the superheroic landscape. They give the hero someone to talk with, thus allowing readers/audience to eavesdrop on vital exposition (though sidekicks can do this, too, and if you don’t believe me, ask Dr. Watson.) Supporting players can also provide story opportunities. And they can add texture and variety to scenes. And the occasional comic relief. And, by their interactions with the chief evil-queller, they can add depth to that individual’s psyche. But mostly they can serve the same function as those stool pigeons and confidential informants served in the old private eye and cop shows, the scruffies who always knew what the word on the street was: they can quickly and efficiently supply data that enables the hero to get to the exciting part, usually a confrontation.
Finally, the pals and gals give the hero what seems to be absolutely necessary: a family. It’s usually a surrogate family, to be sure, and it may not be much like your family, but it has a familial dynamic and it allows the audience to experience, by proxy, what might be missing from their real lives: a secure knowledge that there are people who can counted on, who will always forgive you and have your back. And such nearests and dearests have to hang out somewhere, so why not a secret laboratory?
And while they’re there, they can supply the location of that master fiend, the one with the purple death ray and the really atrocious table manners.
Nope. This is not an old guy rant about how you-all young’uns are ignoring comic books because you’re too busy enjoying the movies and teevee shows being made out of those same comic books. I’m beginning to think that if you lust for heroic fantasy, maybe the plethora of such fare in our theaters and our sundry home electronics will serve your needs.
Back when I was doing public relations for DC Comics, which was so long ago it was well before my pal Martha Thomases was doing public relations for DC Comics, I was fond of telling the press that we had it all over movies because we weren’t restricted by reasonable special effects budgets. We only were restricted by the imaginations of our writers and artists, and that posed no problem at all. We had, and we continue to have, lots of people with wonderful ideas along with the ability to get those visions inside the reader’s brainpan. We could blow up a planet on page one, resurrect that planet on page two, populate it on page three and then blow up the new place on page four.
Today… well… we’ve got computers and brilliant people who never see the light of day to put all that in a movie at a reasonable price and at reasonable speed. And then a bunch of other moloids add music and sound effects and maybe some 3-D crap. Movies – and, now, television – can boldly go where comic books always have been… and get there first.
Better still, the consumer’s cost per minute is far lower in these new venues. Movies and cable bills are expensive, but two hours worth of comic books can run you maybe forty bucks.
This is not to suggest I no longer enjoy comics. To paraphrase a famous ape-fighting gun nut, they’ll have to rip that comic book out of my cold dead hands. And I hope it’s a goddamned expensive one. But this does offer me the opportunity for praise my fellow American publishers that are not owned by mammoth movie studios for moving well beyond traditional superhero fare. Today we can tell virtually any type of story, even true ones, and if that story is well-told and well-marketed we’ve got a pretty good shot at not losing the rent on it.
Maybe we haven’t quite reached the level of selling comics to, say, bored grandmothers who pine for their days of child-rearing. There are very specific comics in other countries, particularly Japan and Belgium, that cater to audiences we rarely think of in the American quadrasphere. But we’re almost there.
Today I am more interested in the new Marvel Netflix series than I am in the post-Battleworld Marvel comics. I am much more interested in the next season of Flash and Arrow than I am in DC’s next reboot – or their previous dozen reboots. That’s where the superhero mojo lives these days.
I see coming up with superhero comics that are more involving than other superhero media as a challenge to our comics creators. Having worked with at least four generations of such talent, I know this will be a wonderful thing to behold. However, right now I’m in the middle of producing at least a half-dozen original graphic novels (editors get to multitask, which is another word for “short attention span”). Some sort of fall into the category of heroic fantasy, maybe, but most do not.
As far as I’m concerned, happy days are here again.
As we are assuredly living in the golden age of superhero TV, it was a clean jab to the jaw to watch the trailer for the forthcoming CBS Supergirl show. In only six and one-half minutes, my optimism – once high and mighty – was sucker-punched and left waning in the gutter.
Flash and Arrow are running at a breakneck pace, unyielding in showcasing how comic book shows can be both inspiring and hopeful, as well as dark and gritty whilst still being network-appropriate. Gotham, while no means as good as its CW counterparts, had flashes of brilliance in between the scenery chewing and trope-filled set-pieces. Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter both delivered period-appropriate ass-kickery, and more than one jaw-dropping moment. And while I’m not much on the whole zombie thing, iZombie and Walking Dead have both popped up in my Facebook feed as being well-produced and good fun for the fans. While nary a single one of these shows appeared to be as brilliant as they actually turned out to be, there was always enough there to see the greatness to come.
In contrast, Supergirl not only showed me nothing to be excited about, it made me worry for what will make it to screen, come the fall.
After a decent setup on Krypton, we’re whisked away to Metropolis by way of Devil Wears Prada. The prototypical rom-com workplace is our setting du jour. Really? Cat Grant, once a dirt-digging reporter and gossip columnist is now a low-rent she-devil running her own tabloid. While I might dig the girl-power aspect of giving Grant the power of the rich and famous, her screen time is given only to insult her employees and undercut women by celebrating girls. And she also calls herself hot, which I think must be a given – as her face looks to be comprised mostly of space-age polymers. But I digress.
Our titular Kryptonian is shown as a dichotomously dipsy dolt one minute, and a boy-golly-gosh-gee-howdy hero the next. It’s Super then it’s it’s Syewpah. Kara’s rocket ride through the cosmos apparently crash landed her on the set of Leave It To Beaver, and frankly it’s a shame. In the wake of Arrow and Flash, we’ve seen how our silver age heroes can exist in the modern era without being overtly cheesy. As presented, our heroine only seems to act appropriately when there’s actual trouble afoot.
And what of that trouble? By the trailer’s end, we’re introduced to the super serious black guy who informs us that all sorts of bad guys are just pilfering and plundering all over the planet. Luckily, I guess, Kara is here now to fight one each week.
It’s not that I don’t understand and accept the procedural portions of our pulpy wares when translated to serialized television. It’s just that based on what it set to tease us for the coming season, we’ll be whisked away to a doppelgänger universe where morts-of-the-week will be presented for super-punching. Given how closely Arrow and Flash run their shows – with home bases chock full of wonderful technology, and happy-to-help friends with no personal lives – it’s hard to find excitement in another retread of the same ground. Even if it’s on another network. And even if our protagonist wears a skirt.
But let me clear: I still hold out hope for the better. The half a dozen episodes of Birds of Prey I once watched prove my mettle. In between the quirky-peppy-girl-next-doorness of Supergirl, there were hints of something better. While my eyes are already set to roll every time we get this close to seeing He Who Shall Not Get A Credit, I will celebrate the fact that this show shouldn’t need him if it can match wits with the scarlet speedster and liberal archery master. And while it would be too much to hope they would eventually share the same universe, no doubt those counting the ad buy-ins would sooner spin-off something else to create a multiverse of superhero television empires.
Ultimately, Supergirl must be far more than the sum of the parts put together for the up-fronts. When the fans clamor for heroines that need not always be saved by the boys, Kara may be only a tiara behind Wonder Woman in terms of being the most widely recognized lady of comics. With the world ablaze in Avengers fever, and TV viewers DVR’ing anything that even sounds vaguely metahuman, Supergirl has the potential to be that bridge-gap nay-sayers need to come join the rank-and-file of the nerdy.
But if instead of a leading lady who shows that heroism is gender neutral, we get a dork who only gets hot when she’s showing off some CGI super powers… I’ll gladly continue to hold my breath for Agent Carter‘s second season instead.
Okay you’ve got them, now what are you going to do with them?
By “them” I mean super villains. So it shouldn’t be much of a leap to conclude that “you” means super heroes. Certainly a lot less than a tall building.
Doesn’t matter where you are – comic books, movies, television, or even cosplay – if you have super heroes, you’re going to have super villains. And if you have super villains, you’re going to have the problem of what to do with them after they’ve been caught. I realize that in today’s comics, catching the bad guys isn’t always a foregone conclusion, but for the sake of argument let’s assume that the super heroes actually do catch the super villains So, then what to do with them?
In comic books, it’s not a problem. Comic-book universes all seem to have some sort of power dampening technology. Turn it on and the super villains powers go away. That way they can’t use their super powers to break out of the prison.
Movies don’t seem to have much of a problem, either. Mostly because super villains in movies die at an alarming rate. Joker, Penguin, Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones and Aaron Eckhart), Bane, Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Venom, Electro, Iron Monger, Whiplash, The Mandarin, Red Skull, Malekith, General Zod (Michael Shannon version definitely and possibly Terence Stamp version) all appeared to die at the end of their movies. And I probably forgot one or two along the way. What to do with super villains after they die isn’t much of a problem. You just wait for them to turn up, not dead after all, in the sequel.
Television is where the heroes have the most problems with what to do with the bad guys. It started as far back as 1952 and the first season of Adventures of Superman. You remember “The Stolen Costume?” Two crooks learned Clark Kent was Superman and Superman left them on the top of a mountain so that they couldn’t tell anyone what they knew. When they tried to climb down, because they didn’t believe Superman would come back with food for them, they fell to their deaths. And Superman’s reaction was to say they fell off a cliff about as casually as he might say, “Lois? Oh she fell out the window.”
The problem got worse with the 60s Batman TV series. Oh, Batman knew what to do with the super villains he caught. It was Gotham City that didn’t know what to do with the super villains; other than let them escape. I swear Gotham Pen was built with unreinforced cardboard and doors locked on the honor system.
In The Flash, the Flash and his team from S.T.A.R. Labs capture a super villain every few weeks. When they do they put said villain in The Pipeline, their private a prison inside the tube of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, quicker than you can say, “Jail, jail, the gang’s all here.” What the heck do we care? I don’t know about the you part of “we,” but the me part cares quite a bit. Putting the super villains in the Pipeline is problematic.
Yes, I know the S.T.A.R. labs group think that Central City and it’s ordinary prison for ordinary prisoners, Iron Heights, can’t handle the metahumans. Guess the all-S.T.A.R.s thought Iron Heights had incorporated all those prison reforms that Warden Crichton used in Gotham City . And, yes, S.T.A.R. Labs may think the metahumans are their responsibility, what with their particle accelerator having created the metas and all, but they can’t just round up all the metacriminals and put them in S.T.A.R.’s own private Ida-hole.
See Missouri – and according to the Flash episode “The Man in the Yellow Suit,” Central City is in Missouri – has a law. Missouri has lots of laws actually, but we’re only concerned with one; MO Rev Stat § 565.130.This laws says a person commits the crime of false imprisonment if he “restrains another unlawfully and without consent so as to interfere substantially with his liberty.”
The S.T.A.R. Lab Rats have definitely interfered with the liberty of the evil metahumans in a substantial way. They’ve locked them up in a private prison. Was it unlawful? Do pigeons poop in the park?
These villains haven’t been found guilty of anything. Hell, they haven’t even been put on trial. S.T.A.R. Labs just decided they were too dangerous to run around loose, so locked them up. And while S.T.A.R. Labs may be correct in its assessment, it’s wrong in its solution. You can’t go around locking up the people you think are dangerous. The government can’t do it without first affording due process of law. And private citizens can’t do it at all.
Don’t go crying PATRIOT Act to me, the metahumans aren’t foreign national enemy combatants. They’re just American criminals. Criminals with those annoying little things called constitutional rights.
As to S.T.A.R. Lab’s claim ordinary prisons can’t handle the metahumans, sez who? The Pipeline handles them all right. S.T.A.R. Labs developed some sort of power dampening technology that it uses to keep the metahumans under control in their private prison. In the episode “Rogue Air,” the dampeners even kept the metahumans under control outside of the Pipeline, when S.T.A.R. Labs and the Flash were trying to transport the metahumans to a different prison. If S.T.A.R. Labs has technology that it uses to keep the metahumans under control, why couldn’t it share the technology so that Iron Heights could use it to keep the metahumans under control?
If your answer was, “I don’t know,” don’t worry; so was mine. But I do know this, “I don’t know,” isn’t a good enough answer to justify not sharing it. Or for locking up metahumans in a private prison without any legal authority.
Now over in Arrow, there aren’t as many metahuman villains. Most Arrow baddies are held in the handy hoosegow. But there are a couple– Slade (Deathstroke) Wilson and Digger (Captain Boomerang) Harkness – who weren’t sent to the standard stockade. These two were locked up in a secret black box prison on the island of Lian Yu. The only difference is that it wasn’t Arrow who locked up the bad guys there, it’s A.R.G.U.S.
A.R.G.U.S. (or the Advance Research Group United Support) is a secret organization. In the DC comics, A.R.G.U.S. is a federal agency. Arrow has been a little sketchy with it’s background for A.R.G.U.S. but on the show the organization has enough governmental ties for it to be either an actual agency or a quasi-agency of the US government. It’s certainly enough of a governmental agency that the Fourteenth Amendment – the one that guarantees the government cannot deprive citizens of their liberty without due process of law – would apply to it. So because A.R.G.U.S. has both Deathstroke and Boomerang locked up in its secret island prison without either of them having had the benefit of due process or a trial, it’s violating their constitutional rights. It may not be against the law of any state – Lian Yu is somewhere in the South China Sea and not in any state – but it’s still illegal. What with it violating the Constitution and all.
So, to repeat the question with which we opened: You’ve got them, now what are you going to do with them? I don’t know. You don’t know. Maybe even the super heroes don’t know. But whatever’s done them, it shouldn’t be what’s being done with them now.
My editor suggested, if I was having trouble coming up with ideas about what to write, that I note that the new CBS prime-time show, Supergirl, will air at eight o’clock Eastern time on Mondays when it starts this fall… up against Gotham on Fox.
The assumption, when he mentioned this to me last week, was that Supergirl would have trouble against the adventures of Bruce Wayne as a boy, since the Batman character has a known success across several media for more than fifty years. Kara Zor-El, on the other hand, starred in one lousy movie and guested on a season of Smallville.
And then, this happened. Pitch Perfect 2 beat Mad Max: Fury Road for highest grossing opening box office this weekend. By a lot.
“Well,” you say (you being my rhetorical projection), “that’s really irrelevant, because movies are different from television.” This is true.
“And anyway,” you continue, “women don’t like superheroes, so who will watch the show?”
You, my rhetorical projection, are wrong. Women watch the current crop of superhero shows in large numbers. They also watch shows in related genres, including fantasy (Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, for example) and horror (like Supernatural and iZombie).
I’m really psyched because, as you know, I’m a long-time Supergirl fan. I have enjoyed almost every incarnation of the character, including the one who had a flying horse that would turn into a cute guy when the occasion required. This new television version seems to owe a bit too much to The Devil Wears Prada, at least in the trailer, but it is my hope that, as the writers get comfortable with the material they’ll find a more unique take on the characters. It’s what happened in other 0808-produced shows, including Arrow and The Flash.
They should also stop being self-conscious about the character being named “Supergirl.” Yes, it’s kind of anachronistic, so I guess they have to address it. However, the explanation in the trailer has Kara’s horrible boss explaining that “What do you think is so bad about ‘girl?’ I’m a girl and your boss and powerful and rich and hot and smart. So if you perceive ‘Supergirl’ as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?’”
I don’t know. Why don’t you ask the black James (Jimmy) Olson how excellent it feels to be called a “boy?”
Let’s face it. “Supergirl” has the same number of syllables as “Superman.” It scans a little bit better. We’re used to it. There are other characters already named “Superwoman,” and they are not Kara Zor-El.
In any case, we’re finally getting a prime-time show dedicated to a female adventure hero. From the trailer, it doesn’t seem as if her love life is going to be her defining reason for being. I expect there will be romances (as there are on Flash, Arrow, Gotham and, let’s face it, every nighttime drama), but there will be existential crises, and action and explosions.
Hollywood has a real problem with diversity issues, especially as they relate to women (and especially especially women of color). There are non-feminist women who think this isn’t a problem, but I can only presume they have rich husbands or fathers, or they’re being paid by rich men to defend the status quo.
Two of the five Supergirl producers mentioned on IMDB.com for this series are women. Here’s hoping that’s a good sign.
Will Supergirl be able to hold its own in the ratings against Gotham? I have no idea. I’m never home on Mondays. i know which one I’ll watch on my DVR first.
Even if there is no flying horse.
My beloved Chicago Bears are a team in turmoil. After installing a new head coach roughly two seasons ago, the team has simply never gelled since. This being in spite of fielding a team that is built beautifully on paper. Suffice to say as a fan, I’m left crushed and crestfallen.
But whereas die-hard football fans would simply spend the remaining time of the current season hatewatching games and greedily predicting the firing of staff, I myself am choosing a path of less anguish. No denial, anger, bargaining, depression, or really even acceptance. I’m choosing instead the art of distraction. OK, sure I bet that files under denial, but c’mon: I’m not denying my Bears blew this season in all three phases of the game. Rather than wallow in it, I think it’s a better use of my time to use my somewhat encyclopedic knowledge of comic book characters to build my own team of comics-based footballery.
From time to time we’ve seen the occasional X-Men softball game. Or perhaps a few long-lost scenes of a young Clark Kent tossing the pigskin around. But no, here, I’m relying on the known commodity that is the playground What If game. Here, the rules are simple: I’m constructing my own team of comic book characters to be fielded against any of your chosen champions. In an ultimate contest of “…nuh-uh, my team is better!” It should be fun!
Head Coach: Batman
The best coaches are motivators and strategists. Not withstanding his physical abilities, the greatest asset of the Dark Knight truly is his mind. I could think of no one better to organize a team, develop strategies that capitalize on a team’s strengths, as well as poke holes in the opponents. And while no one on my team would necessarily attempt to “Win one for the Gipper” through some unspoken bond of camaraderie, let’s be honest: Bruce has enough bat-bucks to incentivize his team if the thrill of victory isn’t enough. Furthermore, if the man’s backup plans to defeat the JLA could be used to easily thwart the JLA, well, imagine what would happen if planning was his only job!
Quarterbacks: Captain America (starter), Hawkeye / Green Arrow (backups)
Face it, every team needs that moral center. And at the best teams within the NFL in my lifetime? You have your Tom Bradys, Peyton Mannings, Drew Breeses, and the like. They’re these good ol’ boys who can make stars out of everybody around them. They rally to save the day. They don’t make stupid mistakes when the chips are down. Captain America is all of that and more. He’s a leader – natch – a strategist, and more than capable of firing an accurate projectile. Simply put, there’s no way I could found my team without him at the helm on the field of battle. And as a safe backups? The archers are just safe bets to move the ball accurately across the field.
Running Back / Fullback: The Flash, Juggernaut
When it comes to setting the run down, I’m a firm believer in potent tandems. The Flash is of course the speed on the team. Get the ball in his hand, set his blocks, and he’s in the red zone before you can blink. And when finesse isn’t needed on the goal line? Just put it in the hands of the unstoppable force. And if you don’t believe this balance works? Go ask the 85′ Bears’ Walter Peyton and Walter Perry.
Wide Receivers: Hawkman, Spider-Man, Mister Miracle
The ability to “go up and get it” is my primary concern. Having a natural flyer, a first-class acrobat, and a man who can literally get out of any coverage he might be in, all in order to come down with the ball? Well, that spells yardage to me. And certainly in all three cases, getting yards after catch is clearly not a concern.
The Offensive Line: The Blob (Center), Colossus and Strong Guy (Guards), Bishop and Groot (Setting the edge)
When it comes to protecting the QB, I can think of no line better. I basically built off the idea of immobile behemoths who can stand as a literal human (and tree) wall, from which Captain America can stand behind full-well knowing he has precious time to survey the field. And considering the line consists of an immovable object, two top-heavy strong-men, a guy who can absorb kinetic energy, and a living tree who can at least make things thorny if a linebacker slips by… I’m pretty well set.
Tight End: Beast (starter), Hal Jordan (backup)
A good tight end is many things to a team. He’s a lead-blocker. A pass-catcher. A known diversion. Basically, in my eyes… a wildcard capable of disrupting a defense in any number of situations. I believe with a thinker like Beast lining up, I’d gain insight, agility, and raw strength when needed. And should he be too physical a presence? Well, ole’ Hal and his trust emerald ring of power would do plenty to keep an opposing defender distracted. And hey, no one said you can’t catch a pass with a giant boxing glove, right?
The Defensive Line: Solomon Grundy, Grodd, Doomsday, The Thing
Forgive me: I just wanted four big, mean, nasty dudes ready to tear apart anything that moves when the ball is hiked. I give myself +5 points for choosing a monkey with telepathic powers to boot.
Linebackers: Thor, Hulk, Wonder Woman
Much like the D-Line, my LBs are all about aggression. But unlike Grundy and the gang, here I wanted to add a bit of mobility. While Hulk isn’t exactly light in the loafers… he more than makes up for it with the ability to leap great distances. And anyone who tried to skirt past either of my demi-gods will be eating dirt I say. Verily!
Safeties: Iceman, Plastic Man
Hear me out on this one kiddos. Safeties are those choice defensemen that disrupt any number of offensive tricks. Sending a great receiver down the field? Good luck doing it with ice under foot! Or if I choose to send an odd blitzer, what better to do it then a red and flesh colored bulldozer, complete with wacky sound effects? Nothing. Nothing is better than that.
Corner Backs: Wolverine, The Human Torch
A good corner is the type of guy willing to ride a receiver down the line every step of the way, and when the ball comes sailing towards their hands… no quarter is given. I could easily see “the best there is at what he does” being the type of evil scrapper than would ensure if a catch were to be pulled down… there’d be a short Canadian right there to make him pay. And if an adamantium-laced brawler isn’t doing it for you, how about a man literally on fire? Catch that ball with the heat of the sun literally breathing down your back. I dare you.
And last but not least… the kicker: Iron Man
Because Batman is the coach, and he’d probably get a kick out of a drunk punter.
I know I went a bit long, but I hope it got your gears spinning. So, who would be on your team?