Comic TV Notes: ARROW's Firefly, GL Hopes, YJ Fights Back

Arrow, “Burned”

 

Though this episode picks up six weeks down the road from the reveal that it will be John Barrowman's elder Merlyn who will take the role as this Green Arrow's archer nemesis and not young Oliver's childhood friend Tommy Merlyn, not much has progressed for still officially unnamed vigilante hero.

Investigations into his father's list of names or the disappearance of his stepfather have halted as Oliver, though he has recovered physically after the 'Dark Archer's' beating (thanks to a montage featuring a successful navigation of the Ninja Warrior salmon ladder obstacle) it takes several pep talks from bodyguard/sidekick/underground information contact Diggle to get him back in the game mentally so he can face this week's threat.

When the fireman brother of Dinah Lance's coworker Joanna dies in the line of duty, the legal aid pair is convinced of foul play, and Dinah uses the smart-phone that Oliver left with her father to contact the vigilante for help.  A rogue firefighter is burning his former coworkers alive and proves to be more than a match for the shaken hero in their first encounter.  All but convinced that his nocturnal activities are ultimately futile, Oliver uses Tommy's fundraiser in their nascent nightclub to press for information about how all the dead firemen were connected back to a disaster where dozens of people killed in a Towering Inferno-like situation, including one firefighter named Garfield Lynns.

 

A severely burned Lynns survived the disaster and now wants revenge against those he thought abandoned him, but when Oliver foils his attempt to immolate the Fire Chief with a precise shot that proves he's regained his focus, Lynns kills himself rather then surrender and accept an offer to of aid and recovery. 

Elsewhere, it's up to sister Thea to talk her and Oliver's mother out of her depression over her second husbands disappearance (one double deep due to her not inconsequential role in it) and take up the reigns of the family business.  Also, the now destitute Tommy is feeling empowered in his role setting up the nightclub that will be the cover for Oliver's excursions and his hideout, which we see the hero access for the first time via a series of switches hidden in a fuse box. Finally, Detective Lance lets his daughter keep the pilfered smart-phone (the Arrow-Phone!) but doesn’t tell her he has it bugged.

In the flashbacks to Purgatory Island, shirt-buttoned-up-all-the-way Oliver escapes the battle between his savior Yao Fei and Deathstroke, but is perused by a masked goon that Oliver is forced to kill after a frantic struggle. Oliver takes from his victim his clothes (his first change since arriving) and finds in the pockets a marked up map of the island in a foreign language and a ring of old-fashioned keys. 

Back Issue Notes:

- Though he bares little resemblance in character, this Garfield Lynns shares his name with the Bat-villian Firefly; there a theatrical special effects expert turned insurance fraudster/pyromaniac who is usually seen wearing his signature fire-proof armored suit with a built in flamethrower, wings and a jetpack.

-The disaster that 'killed' Lynns was said to have occurred at Nodel(l) Tower, named after either Martin Nodell, the creator of the Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott, or Norman Nodel, a literary illustrator who worked on DC's seminal Showcase series that was the home of the first heroes of the Silver Age. 

Green Lantern: The Animated Series, “Blue Hope”

 

The blue wavelength of the Lantern “Emotional Spectrum” is explored further this week as Hal Jordan, Kilowog and Aya seek to counter the Anti-Monitor/Manhunter threat with the power boost that Kilowog experienced while being in range of Blue Lantern Saint Walker at the end of the series’ Red Lantern Arc.

Arriving on Odym, the GLs meet Walker, the second Blue Lantern, the elephantine Brother Warth, exiled Guardian of the Universe Ganthet and erstwhile teammate the Red Lantern, Razor. Since he last appeared, Razor has apparently been under the tutelage of the blue Yodas to control his anger, a task aided by blue’s effect drains his red ring’s power. The reunion of Razor and Aya, the robot avatar of The Interceptor’s AI, who’ve had the stirrings of a relationship is quickly soured when Razor’s harsh opinion of the Manhunter’s ‘soullessness’ hurts Aya’s feelings and causers her to question her sentience with some classic sci-fi Pinocchio dialoging.

As it turns out Hal’s team arrived just as Ganthet was preparing to fire up the Blue Central Battery for the first time (using the Blue Lantern Oath) , and while it does super-charge their green rings, it also attracts a passing patrol of Manhunters who, as they do in classical depictions, are also charged by Green Lantern energy and now want the blue battery for themselves. At the end of this season’s at least fourth battle with a trio of Manhunters, the Greens and the Blues (Brother Warth is surprisingly agile) are overpowered and are only victorious after Razor uses the lessons he’s learned to extinguish the blue battery, level the playing field and after a close call with Aya learns that righteous anger can power his red ring just as well as blind rage.

Back Issue Notes:

- Best Construct Award: Almost went to Kilowog’s super-charged mallet, but Razor tearing a Manhunter into pieces using dozen of tendrils simultaneously was cool enough to rewind and watch again.

- These Manhunters can “see” emotions in people, and do so in their signature colors similarly to how the Black Lanterns did during Blackest Night.

-Blue Rings traditionally drain the power from Yellow Rings instead, and were just protection (and cancelation) against the Red Lantern’s corrosive “vomit” originally. 

-The Blue Lantern Oath is spoken aloud for perhaps the first time in any media: ”In fearful day, in raging night, With strong hearts full, our souls ignite, When all seems lost in the War of Light, Look to the stars-- For hope burns bright!” The use of the phase 'War of Light' portends that this series will experience the Blackest Night event just as the comic did. 

Young Justice, “Cornered”

 

Young Justice continues its streak of juggling drama and action in ways that makes its Challenge of the Superfriends ancestor a complete embarrassment. Driving the action of “Cornered” is the first and probably last appearance of this universe’s version of Despero, the latest of DC’s deep bench of alien threats to make an appearance in a season that’s been all about the influence of extraterrestrials on Earth.

Goaded by his robot assistant and perhaps season Big Bads: The Reach, this ‘space gladiator’ version of the three-eyed villain comes to claim a few heroic heads for his trophy room and since the Justice League is in exile, he settles for trapping a small band of young heroes in the Hall of Justice including Superboy, Captain Marvel, Miss Martian, Bumblebee, Zatanna and team hanger-on Mal Duncan inside the Hall of Justice. With Zatanna quickly neutralized and Miss Martian still too shell-shocked from mind-wiping Aqualad to try that trick again, the remaining heroes are treated to a beating as Despero destroys the Hall around them. The action here is impressive, especially Captain Marvel’s use of his lighting, but it ultimately feels like the show is just checking off the minimum amount of action it needs this week with a two dimensional foe that is too similar to the threat that Black Beetle posed (with greater success) in the previous episode. Ultimately Despero is beaten thanks to a bluffing action by Mal who dons the Guardian armor that the character first assumed in 1976 before he became Hornblower.

 

What this week was really about was the fact that the ‘we come in peace’ appeal that The Reach is making to the public is working, winning over news-shouter (and looming herald of a different threat) G. Gordon Godfry and frustrating stand-in Justice League leader Captain Atom. Elsewhere in this busy episode, Black Canary interviews more of the kids recused from The Reach learning that they were told they had the potential to develop powers, including two boys whose names and clothing indicate that they will become Longshadow/Apache Chief and Milestone Comics (and former Kids’ WB title hero) Static. Lastly, Blue Beetle reveals that he might be the source of the end of the world Impuse warned him about and begs the heroes remove the Scarab from his back by any means.

The episode ends first with a great callback to Justice League Unlimited’s epic Cadmus arc when The Reach ambassador reveals the orbital Watchtower to a stunned public while a troubled Miss Martian appears to welcome Superboy back into her life.

Back Issue Notes:

-It is unnamed here, but Despero’s robot buddy was clearly based on the Justice League International/Super Buddies side character L-Ron.

- General Eiling is present when the secret of the Watchtower is exposed and he has a similar apoplectic reaction to that news that he had in the Justice League episode “Dark Heart.” His low opinion of superheroes would make him a thorn in their side of both animated and comic versions of the JLA for years.

-Mal, wearing the Guardian armor, is the spitting image of the Manhattan Guardian from Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers maxiseries, though Mal actually held the role first - way back in the 70s.

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