Thursday, February 2, 2017

Comic Book TV recap (1/30/2017 - 2/2/2017)

The lineup of DC shows expands this week with Powerless on NBC. Gotham and Lucifer will be going on hiatus after this week.

Supergirl: "We Can Be Heroes" - As Mon-El finishes preparing to be a superhero, Livewire returns. During a standoff with her, Kara discovers that James is Guardian. J'onn assists M'gann when she goes catatonic and relives her life on Mars in her dreams. Both James and Mon-El go after Livewire, trying to prove themselves to Kara. As it turns out, Livewire isn't their biggest problem.

Gotham: "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies" - Eddie confronts Oswald about killing Isabelle. Jerome kidnaps Bruce to kill him in front of his cult, but luckily, Jim and Alfred are not far behind, and Bruce has a trick or two up his own sleeve.

Lucifer: "A Good Day to Die" - In order to save Chloe, Lucifer has to take an emergency trip to Hell, where he winds up having to face his own demons.

The Flash: "Dead or Alive" - When Gypsy—a law enforcer from Earth-19—arrives to collect HR for punishment, Team Flash rallies around him, with Gypsy agreeing that she will face off against Cisco as to whether or not she'll take HR with her. Iris and Wally team up to take down a gang, despite the better thoughts of Barry and Joe.

Legends of Tomorrow: "The Legion of Doom" - Malcolm Merlyn and Damian Darhk try to get Rip to open a vault they hope holds the spear and also try to discover the reason of Eobard Thawne's erratic behavior. In fact, so are the Legends as they try to make some adjustments to the ship. Dr. Stein is forced to confront his daughter about her origins as a time aberration.

Agents of SHIELD: "Hot Potato Soup" - Radcliffe (the real one) and one of the Koening brothers are captured by Anton Ivanov in a plot to get the Darkhold. SHIELD is also on the case. A few twists, some extra details about LMDs in the MCU, and what seems to be terrible losses for SHIELD occur.

Arrow: "Second Chances" - Curtis discovers Tina Boland, who was affected by the particle accelerator accident in the first season of The Flash who has a sonic scream, and they track her down to hopefully invite her to become the new Black Canary. Felicity meets a hacktivist who was inspired by her as they work to get Diggle out of jail.

Riverdale: "A Touch of Evil" - As more details of Jason's death emerge, suspicion runs in Riverdale with several accusations being flung around loosely. Keep your eyes open for very classic Archie moments.

Powerless: "Wayne or Lose" - Emily Rose (Vanessa Hudgens) starts work at Wayne Security under Van Wayne (Alan Tudyk) in Charm City, which regularly  experiences supervillain attacks and of course, super-standoffs. Their job? Creating new products to help people in this world deal with living with that reality. When Bruce Wayne announces the closing of the company, Emily encourages the team to make a last ditch effort to create something new to make Bruce reconsider. A very fun new series.

So, as I try to wrap up watching more live action Marvel properties, here's a couple more:

Man-Thing - The mysterious man-turned monster who guards the Nexus of Realities in the Everglades is turned into a simple man-turned swamp monster who kills a large number of people as the new sheriff tries to figure out what to do. There's barely any actual character development. They tease the mystery, but basically, the monster is mad about a factory in the swamp. It could not be more of a basic monster horror movie. This is definitely one of the worst Marvel movies.

Generation X - 1996 brought yet another TV Marvel movie that was supposed to be a pilot for a TV show that didn't get picked up. Generation X was an X-Men spinoff comic about a group of mutants taught by Emma Frost and Banshee/Sean Cassidy at an academy in Massachusetts.  The TV movie puts it back at the Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters and changes out some of the younger mutants for new ones that would be more budget-friendly. The team of misfits bonds in an admittedly nice Marvel style where they function through dysfunction, but the plot they're saddled with—taking on a man who has found a way to crack into the "Dream Dimension," intending to profit by placing advertising—is less than impressive. Fans were also rightfully outraged that fan favorite mutant Jubilee was not depicted as Asian but played by a white actress. I guess X-Men fans should check it out to see how it eventually led to the X-Men movies (the same building is used for Xavier's school), but it's not very good on its own.

Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD -  David Hasselhoff stars in this first attempt to bring SHIELD to live action. Nick Fury is called out of retirement to help SHIELD take down the plots of HYDRA, who threaten to release a deadly virus on Manhattan unless they receive one billion dollars. Story is pretty basic, but it introduces a lot of fun concepts of SHIELD. The acting is pretty hammy and the proceedings never rise above the expectations of a late 90s TV movie, which is what it is. Fans of Marvel who want to see the various film and TV incarnations should give it a watch, but few will be returning for seconds.

X-Men, X2: X-Men United, and X-Men: The Last Stand - After some these other Marvel movies, watching these again was a nice change of pace. Coming after Blade, but before Spider-Man, the X-Men series was the first to try to embrace the comic book nature of the X-Men while not being too silly or goofy. The trilogy follows a main group of the X-Men: Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman and is depicted as a newcomer to the group), Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Rogue, Iceman, and (in the last film) Kitty Pryde, led by Professor X. As the world fears mutants, Professor X with his "School for Gifted Youngsters" and the X-Men work to better relationships between regular humans and themselves. However, Magneto and his brotherhood of Mutants (featuring the shape-shifting Mystique) believe that mutants are the successor race to humanity, and for peace, humanity must either be subjugated, forced to mutate or wiped out.

The first two films are very good, the second being considered one of the best superhero films of all time, having good character development and action along with a good story. The third one gets a pretty bad rap, though it keeps up with the action, but planned as the final installment of the trilogy, goes too heavy with character death when it should've focused on the return of Jean Grey as a super-powerful telekinetic mutant calling herself the Phoenix. It also works in a plot about a "cure" for mutants. Overall, I'd say it's not bad, but it's just not as good as the other two.

The Amazing Spider-Man (1977) - This was the first pilot movie for the CBS Amazing Spider-Man television show, which only ran for thirteen episodes. It featured Nicholas Hammond as newspaper photographer and scientist Peter Parker, who gets the ability to climb walls after being bitten by a spider that has become radioactive from the experiments of Peter and his lab partners, which he uses to fight crime. For those familiar with later versions of Spider-Man, there is no Uncle Ben here. While mastering his powers and gaining recognition as Spider-Man, Peter helps the police foil a plot that sees several people of New York inexplicably commit suicide.

Apparently, Stan Lee did not like the series and called it a "total nightmare." It's believed he's preventing it from getting a DVD release, though I'm wary of that claim. It didn't seem any worse than the versions of The Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Dr. Strange that also aired on CBS. More likely broad market appeal isn't expected since the series would require four or five discs (vs. the one-off DVDs for Dr. Strange and Captain America and the big fanbase of The Incredible Hulk) and many people would likely prefer more recent versions of Spider-Man. Luckily for the curious, the pilot movie and some other episodes can be seen on YouTube.

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