Need to Know: Guide to This Week's Comics TV - Feb 7, 2013

 

Arrow, “Betrayal”

Released from prison on a technicality, a dangerous criminal named Cyrus Vanch plans to take over the leaderless (thanks to Oliver) mafia and triads of Starling City and starts by finding a new base of operations: his lawyer's house, whom he murders presumably to save on the cost of transferring the deed.

In the Arrow Cave, Diggle and Oliver discuss the revelation that Oliver's mom has a copy of the book. Diggle is sure she is involved in the mysterious conspiracy, but Oliver can't believe that. When Oliver confronts his mother in his civilian guise, she claims that the book is his father's and a list of people who owed him a favor. She says she knew he was 'mixed up with' unsavory characters and implores that no one in her family ask any questions in order to stay safe.  Before Oliver can react, she tosses the book into the fire.

Elsewhere, Detective Lance is ordered off the Hooded Vigilante investigation, as his superiors are secretly pleased that powerful criminals are being taken off the streets. Lance is incredulous at the news. His daughter on the other hand is showing Thea Queen around her new court-ordered workplace when they meet Anastasia, a 'real lawyer' unhappy at being forced by her firm to do pro bono work in Laurel's office to improve their image.  When Laurel hears about Cyrus' release she's not happy that her father or DA Spencer can't do anything about it, so she chooses to call the Hood via the Arrow Phone.

Oliver recons Cyrus' hideout but is repelled after learning about the killer's mob takeover plan. What Oliver doesn't hear is that Cyrus plans to earn their loyalty by killing the Hood. Laurel is forced to break a date with Tommy Merlyn to meet the Hood on the roof of the Winick Building, but the bugged Arrow Phone brings Detective Lance and the cops. Oliver is forced to briefly take Laurel hostage before escaping, Lance follows him but is dropped easily by Oliver. After he recovers Laurel yells at her dad about how he doesn't trust her (and Tommy complains to Laurel about how she doesn’t trust him).

Cyrus learns from his lady friend that her contact at Lance's precinct that the Hood has a weak spot, Laurel. Two goons sent to kidnap the young defense lawyer get quite the beating from Laurel before Cyrus' tazer takes her down. When Tommy discovers Cyrus' threat to kill Laurel if the Hood doesn't present himself as ransom, he takes the message to Detective Lance. After realizing that someone in his  precinct is a traitor, he is forced to call the Hood over the Arrow Phone for help. They form a quick plan to rescue Laurel together.

 

Oliver seemingly has little trouble taking out Cyrus' goons, but that was all according to the criminal's plan. Cyrus has been studying all available video of the Hood's activity and counted the number of arrows and other weapons he carries and made sure he had enough lackeys to absorb them all before he got to Cyrus. Just before Oliver is shot in front of a hostage Laurel, Detective Lance arrives to shoot the  gunmen. Before an enraged Lance can kill Cyrus as well, Oliver talks him down with a reminder that he is a cop, not a vigilante. Afterward,  Laurel tells her father that she needs her space from him after being used as bait and outside the Hood tells her that he's going to stay away from her for her own safety, leaving Laurel in the arms of Tommy Merlyn.

While Oliver pursues Cyrus Vanch, Diggle won't let go of the idea that Moira Queen is hiding something. After arranging to be her driver temporally and some false alarms, he tails her to the office of Fauquet-Lemaitre Consulting, where she meets Malcolm Meryln. Diggle is forced to eavesdrop though a wall using some Arrow Tech, and while is unable to identify Malcolm, hears and shares with Oliver that his mother has 'taken care of Carl Ballard' (a real estate developer first mentioned in Trust But Verify) and is under orders to dispose of the wreak of the sabotaged Queen's Gambit, lest it's discovery impede “the undertaking.” Disheartened by this evidence, Oliver is forced to visit his mother in her office as the Hood, ask tell her that she's “failed the city.”

On Purgatory, Oliver reaches the point marked on the map by Yao Fei to find a long crashed airplane. Inside its wielding he is attacked by a sword wielding attacker who only relents when Oliver explains that Yao Fei sent him. The attacker tells Oliver of his and Yao Fei's plan to attack a nearby airfield to escape and that the plan takes two people to pull off. In order to see if Oliver is capable enough to take Yao's place, he is challenged to a sword fight that does not go well for the shipwrecked billionaire. After Oliver wakes up, tied to a chair, the swordsman is about to kill him but is impress by Oliver's will to live after he separates his own shoulder to escape the ropes binding him. The swordsman says his name is Slade Wilson and is willing to train Oliver in a weapon of his choice, but before the choice is made, Oliver discovers the orange and black (Deathstroke) mask of the man who tortured him. Slade claims to be the partner of that man and the masks are part of the Eddie Fyers policy of making everyone in his employ hide their identity, Slade instead claims that he and his partner are members of an Australian Intelligence agency. 

Back Issue Notes

-Cyrus Vanch's ill-fated lawyer works at the law firm of Wolfman and Perez, named for two of comics' living legends: writer Marv Wolfmam and the master of the crowd-shot, artist George Perez.

-Iron Heights prison shares its name with a fictional DC Comics version that is the involuntary home for many of The Flash's rouges. 

-The Winick Building is named for former Green Arrow writer Judd Winick, who created the character of Mia Dearden, who's last name is used as the middle name of Arrow character Thea “Speedy” Dearden Queen and might share the fate of becoming Green Arrow's sidekick.

-The real Dominique Lemaitre is prolific Hollywood set decorator and is on the crew of Arrow.

-Slade Wilson is the real name of Deathstroke, but it is unknown if the character is tilling the truth that he is or isn't the same man in the Deathstroke mask seen so far.

 

Young Justice, “Runaways”

Some semi-familiar names are finally attached to semi-familiar faces this week as the deep bench of meta-humans on Young Justice spills out of the dugout. At the Taos, New Mexico STAR Labs branch Virgil Hawkins is developing his electrical powers by attempting to levitate a trashcan lid while chafing under the supervision of Dr. Wilcox. Virgil has been drafted into a metahuman training program with the other Reach abductees Neutron (first seen in Impuse's debut episode), Ty Longshadow and the finally identified Asami Kozumi (from Japan and unable to speak or understand English) and Eduardo “Ed” Dorado Jr, the son of local STAR Labs zeta beam scientist.

During a break from training Eduardo and his father argue about his running away from the family home in Argentina and how it may have contributed to not only his abduction by The Reach, but his unwanted development of short range teleportation powers. Meanwhile, the Taos lab is having delivered parts of the Amazo robot for safe keeping and study by Adam Strange.

That night Virgil plans an escape from the lab, which the others are game for expect for Neutron who fears his power getting out of control again. The abductees decide to make a break for it at that moment, but a concerned Neutron sets off the base alarm with an apology. Fleeing regardless, the  abductees are stalled by a locked exit door and fact that Virgil never had a real plan to begin with. Cornered by guards, Ed teleports behind them, distracting them long enough for Asami to propel herself forward with rings of energy, knocking the guards down. After Virgil renders the chief of security unconscious with a levitated fire extinguisher, the lab's power goes out, opening the door. The “runaways” feel.

When news of their escape reaches Nightwing, he calls on Blue Beetle to bring them back, due to his proximity to the lab and his relationship with Ty. At an El Paso bus station, Virgil calls his family in Dakota City, revealing to the others that he is not an orphan, just abducted from a train station. The group is skeptical about hiding out with him, but realizes they have no choice.

When Wilcox and the STAR guards arrive well before the bus, a sleeping Ty manifests his power: a giant astral human form with him suspended in the center. The giant tears open the bus station and is about to attack the STAR forces but instead exchanges blows with Blue Beetle before he drives Jaime into the ground, picks up the runaways in a giant golden hand and runs off into the desert.

 

In the wilderness Ty wakes up and realizes what he has done but before they can get any further, Blue Beetle confronts them again. Jamie reacts his armor and reveals himself to Ty to gain his trust back, and tells them if they don't trust STAR, they can at least go to his new friend Green Beetle for help and advice.

Back at STAR Labs, the Zeta teleportation room is attacked by the android Red Volcano, who is hunting the Amazo parts. Red Volcano make short work of the beam room and Jamie is forced to leave the runaways in the desert to go help. Ed, concerned about his father, despite their earlier argument, wants to follow and the idea of helping appeals to both Virgil and Asami.

When it is revealed that Amazo's head was sent somewhere else for security, Red Volcano readys himself to kill Ed's father, but the younger Dorado is able to teleport himself and another person (his father) for the first time. As Ed and Asami clear the civilians out of the way, Blue Beetle and Ty (in his giant astral form) battle Red Volcano. As the battle rages, Blue Beetle becomes more and more ruthless, even at one point willing to sacrifice the runaways to pursue Red Volcano and destroy the entire lab complex with a giant sonic cannon. In the end, Blue Beetle drills into the chest of the evil android and blows it up from the inside.

Turned off by Blue Beetle's selfishness (and willingness to reveal his to this point hidden existence to a thong of TV cameras) the runaways sneak off. Later the “new heroic sensation” Blue Beetle meets Green Beetle on the roof and chastises himself for letting the kids get away, but Green Beetle thinks it's better now that Blue is seen as a hero, and it is revealed Black Beetle agrees that it will be better for The Reach's takeover plans just as when Green Beetle reset the blue Scarab, letting it take over Jaime completely.

The runaways don't get far before they are approached by none other than Lex Luthor, who despite his known association with The Reach convinces the young metahumans, in the way that only Lex can, that he too is just a pawn in The Reach's game and offers them help and resources so they can take back control of their lives.

Back Issue Notes

-Dr. Wilcox shares a surname with Colonel Wilcox, who was the Super Friends military liaison/mission giver in that infamous same-named 80s cartoon series which has a good showing out this week.

-Virgil Hawkins is the real name of Static, originally from the Milestone Comics imprint who transitioned not only to the 'real' DC Universe, but has his own successful cartoon series, Static Shock, with was a part of the canon DCAU. One of his signature elements was the use of his relatively minor power in clever ways, like gaining flight by 'surfing' on an electromagnetically levitated metal disk like a trashcan lid or a manhole cover, the latter of which he is able to do by the end of this episode.

-Eduardo “Ed” Dorado Jr., is a homage to the Super Friends' South American hero El Dorado, who was (among other thing) able to teleport using his magic cape.

-Asami Kozumi, nicknamed “Sam” by her compatriots can be contributed to be an updated version of the Super Friends' Japanese hero, Samurai. While Asami doesn’t have the whirlwind lower torso of her predecessor (which would probably just cause confuse with Red Tornado who has a similar appearance when using his powers) her 'propulsion rings' give her a similar effect.

-The Zeta lab in Taos is named after Saul Erdel, who performed the experiment that accidentally transported the Martian Manhuter to Earth.

-Ty Longshadow is finally revealed to be the heir to the power of Super Friends' Apache Chief who could physically grow to massive size opposed to Ty's astral form iteration. A hero known as Long Shadow was a part of a previous, Super Friends pastiche: the Ultimen from Justice League Unlimited. Not coincidentally, the Ultmien also included a version of Asami (Wind Dragon), though that team's electrically powered hero (Juice) was based on Black Vulcan/Black Lightning, not Static.

-Red Volcano repeatedly refers to the humans around him as “meatbags,” an affectation from the electronic to the living best remembered as a favorite term for friends and enemies alike by the assassin droid HK-47 from the classic video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic .

 

Green Lantern: The Animated Series, “Cold Fury”

Having your heart broken can feel like the end of the world, but one heartbreak in particular could spell the end of the Universe on this week’s Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Picking up just moments after the previous episode ended, the revelations and recriminations over Aya’s “death” threaten to start a brawl aboard the Interceptor even as the Anti-Monitor and its Manhunters press their attack.

With their Foes closing, Zox attempts to call for help from the Red Lanterns while the Guardian We-Assume-Is-Scar enlists Hal to help enact her secret plan to stop the rampaging robots directly. Once in place Scar reveals that she has spent centuries reclaiming the ancient power of the Guardians, the same power that gave ‘life’ to the Manhunters and lit the Green Lanterns, and destroys dozens of the genocidal robots in a wave of green energy. An unimpressed Anti-Monitor is not harmed and with a blast of its hand, apparently kills Scar. Turning its attention to Hal, the Anti-Monitor wants to force him to watch his ship and crew be consumed but is interrupted by the Red Lantern space-city: The Shard. While the Red Lantern intervention lets the Interceptor and its crew gets away, The Shard is destroyed by Anti-Monitor.

Fleeing back to Ysmault, the Interceptor is boarded by a collection of Manhunter parts possessed by Aya’s code. The joyous reunion is spoiled however when Razor claims that his words of love and affection were just misplaced from his feeling for his long dead girlfriend. The news puts a shocked Aya in Spinning Beachball mode as she tries to reconcile it.

 

The Interceptor arrives at Ysmault just in time to join the Red Lantern armada in their defense of their home world against the Anti-Monitor. When Aya asks Hal how she is supposed to help in the upcoming battle if she’s still bewildered about her relationship with Razor, Hal’s explanation of how to compartmentalize one’s feelings has a dramatic effect on the AI. As the elaborate space battle rages, Aya shuts off her ‘human feelings,’ retreats down to the Interceptor’s Green Lantern Power Battery and absorbs all its energy. The ship goes dark, but a super-charged Aya lays waste to the Manhunters with little regard to the devastation she’s having on the Red Lantern fleet. With the Anti-Monitor insight, Aya torpedoes right into its chest, blowing it in half.

The celebrations are premature, however, as Aya rejects all emotions, absorbs the power of the Anti-Monitor and flies its “corpse” away, accompanied by the Manhunters.

Back Issue Notes

-Best Construct Award: Aya’s Gurren Lagenn-style (not to be confused with Oppa Gangnam Style) drill into the Anti-Monitor’s chest makes Barry Allen’s empty costume wistfully think: I wish I could do that.

-Even ‘dead,’ the Anti-Monitor’s body possesses great power. Aya’s corpse-harvesting tactic was first used by the villain of the Infinite Crisis storyline in an attempt to remake the universe to his wishes.

-"Scar" (referred to by Giancarlo Volpe officially only as "The Science Director" Guardian) refers to ‘ancient powers’ that the Guardians of the Universe possess. The race known as the Guardians are among the most powerful in the DC Universe, but classically have little desire to exercise that power. Apart from their agelessness, they can freely use Green energy, fly, read minds/communicate telepathically and even manipulate space/time.

 

Ultimate Spider-Man, “Kraven the Hunter”

Spider-Man and his Neo-Amazing Friends have been sharing their training regimens among each other, but while the male members of the team are keen on goofing off when it’s their turn to lead, the always steady, focused White Tiger is not. A challenge to her teammates to track her down gets out of hand as the mysterious sound of drums turn the reserved superheroine aggressive and catlike, to the point that only the threat of a formal SHIELD reprimand snaps her out of Italian restaurant rampage.

The next morning, an even more catlike Ava Ayala drinks a whole container of milk and shreds Peter’s bed (which she apparently sleeps in) with her fingernails. That night when the drum sound again almost drives her to kill a man handing out cheese dressed as a giant mouse. She confesses to Spider-Man that her reserved manner is necessary to control the power of the Tiger Amulet, her family legacy. While this is being sorted out, Nova and Iron Fist are laid low by tranquilizer darts shot by the mysterious drummer, and when Power Man brags to the shadows that such a trick won’t work on him thanks to his unbreakable skin (Rhino notwithstanding), the drummer blows a cloud of dust in his face that knocks Luke unconscious.

Ditched by White Tiger, Spider-Man consults Nick Fury and Agent Coulson about her past and instead of leaving the situation to her, he tracks the communicators of his other teammates where he finds them tied up and unconscious on a lake in Central Park. White Tiger, having followed the same trail, attempts again to get Spider-Man to leave, but the pair is confronted by their mysterious assailant, Kraven the Hunter.

The Russian manhunter is after Ava’s amulet, which he was unable to recover after fatally wounding Ava’s father in the previous White Tiger’s last battle. Kraven’s array of high tech hunting tools, including an invisible laser spear, tests the young heroes’ skills, pushing Ava more and more in the direction of losing control.

 

When a moment of lapsed concentration lets Kraven get a hold of the amulet, he is not interested in maintaining control and the empowered hunter chases the heroes through the trees ninja-style. Lost for an idea of what to do, Spider-Man gives Ava a pep-talk to get her crafty mind working on a plan. The need for ideas is especially poignant when the amulet takes control of Kraven and transforms him into a white were-tiger.

Ava sees an opportunity in this and leads the battle to the Central Park Zoo’s tiger enclosure, where a simple distraction unrelated to the tigers lets her snag the amulet back. Kraven is restored to human form, and when Ava wants lethal vengeance Spider-Man talks him down by telling her about how his uncle was killed "for no reason at all" and that he passed on vengeance to be a better person. Ava understands and lets SHIELD take Kraven away. Man and White Tiger share a bit of attender moment, before their teammates teasing her about her recent behavior with the threat of making a funny cat video for the internet.

Back Issue Notes

-The Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter debuted in 1964 and was depicted as descending from an exiled Russian noble line and truly devoted to the ‘noble’ sport of hunting, thinking finally that animal named superheroes would be the ultimate game.

-Images shown of Ava’s father (and previous White Tiger) wearing a police uniform seems to indicate that he a version of Kevin “Kasper” Cole, who was a police officer before becoming White Tiger in the pages of Black Panther.

-A picture of Ava’s grandfather might be of the original comic book White Tiger, Hector Ayala, who debuted in 1975.

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