Need to Know: Guide to This Week's Comics TV - Feb 14, 2013

Arrow, “Odyssey”

 

A near death experience sends Oliver on an Odyssey of his own, complete with a journey though the land of the dead, a call to a Siren that proves irresistible and an angry cyclops.

In Moria's office Oliver, in his hood and with his voice changer activated, presses his mother at arrow-point for information about The Undertaking. Oliver hesitates when Moria begs for her life in the name of her two children and when the opportunity presents itself, draws a gun and inflicts a serious wound on her disguised son. Leaving a pool of blood behind, Oliver flees to the car of Felicity Smoak and after revealing his identity to her, begs for transport to the Arrow Cave. Once there, Diggle is shocked at her arrival, but instantly gets to work trying to save Oliver's life using a supply of stored blood on hand.

An unconscious Oliver has much more time to flashback to Purgatory, where the majority of the action takes place. Oliver's combat training is not going as well as Slade hoped, and he expresses surprise that the shipwrecked billionaire has lasted six months(!) on the island. A frustrated Oliver instead complains about the amount of hand-to-hand he is being forced to learn in light of the fact that all of Eddie Fyers' men have guns. After Slade gives Oliver a gun and promptly disarms him a few times the future vigilante is dissuaded of his prior notion.

That night Slade finally lets Oliver in on the escape plan. Fyers' supply plane is due to arrive for its once-every-three-month load/unload. While Slade snipes the guards on the ground from a distance, Oliver has to sneak into the armored control tower and take out the guard there before he sounds the alarm. Looking at Slade's map, Oliver notes that Fyers' main base isn't far away and they should have time to rescue Yao Fei, but Slade doesn't care. Later that night Oliver has a dream within his flashback, where he's back home with a forgiving Laurel in bed but is shot in the head. 

 

While still in the Purgatory flashback, perceptive is shifted away from Oliver to Yao Fei who hesitantly deals with his new boss Eddie Fyers who is impressed with the utility of the bow on the island and promises Yao “her” continued safety if he will train the mercenaries in archery with the shipment of compound bows that is arriving the next day. Yao Fei agrees, but is more interested in the gun left out in the open (next to a copy of The Odyssey), at least until Deathstroke walks in.

That night when they make camp, Oliver gets Slade to tell him about his partner, Bill Wintergreen, who came to the island with Slade, but when they were caught by Fyers, Wintergreen switched sides while Slade was held prisoner for a year, even though Wintergreen was a long time friend and even godfather to his son Joe Wilson.

Back in the Arrow Cave and with Oliver sewn up but still out, Felicity shares with Diggle that she had pretty much seen though all the ruses that Oliver had used on her so far, but was unsure why. Diggle pays her the complement of acknowledging her intelligence and skills and lets her know that with her help, they've taken down killers and drug dealers. Their nice moment of sidekick pride is broken up when Oliver flat-lines, things look bad when Diggle's defibrillator doesn't work, but  Felicity is able to hotwire it and save Oliver's life.

Back on Purgatory, Oliver's sneaking mission at the airbase doesn't go so well. Slade is wiping out his targets with a silenced sniper rifles and his sword when he runs out of bullets, but Oliver's struggles against the tower guard require Slade to come in for the save. Alone again in the tower, Oliver can't resist an opportunity: he picks up the satellite phone and calls Laurel (a distant, attractive voice), but is unable to come up with any words before an incredulous Slade pulls the phone out of the console keeping the signal from being intercepted. When the supply plane calls asking for a countersign to a password that will signal its safe to land, Oliver's recollection of a quote from The Odyssey saves the day. With three hours before plane lands, an Oliver who is now committed to being a better person leaves Slade to try and rescue Yao Fei.

In the Arrow Cave, Felicity brings up the touchy subject of the people Oliver has killed on his mission. Diggle responds with a story of his service in Afghanistan, where protecting a unsavory local warlord once meant killing people even younger than his then self. He's now content with the fact that people die in a war, but at least now his mission is a just one.

When Oliver reaches Yao Fei in the middle of Fyers' camp on Purgatory, he can't get his archer friend to come along, especially when Fyers and Wintergreen arrive. Captured again with the aid of Yao Fei, Oliver now must 'fight' Wintergreen with his hand tied behind his back. Despite (or because of) Oliver's taunts at Wintergreen's disloyalty to Slade, it does not go well. In a moment of desperation Oliver instead tries to bribe the hulking mercenary before explosions send the camp into chaos. Slade runs in and fights his old partner until he gets the upper hand and stabs him in the eye (on the black side of the mask) apparently killing him. As Oliver and Slade flee the latter is shot non-fatally by Fyers quickly giving Oliver the chance to save his life by using some of his new skills on a hapless mercenary that gets pistol-whipped for his trouble. The supply plane is then shown flying away above their heads.

Back as Slade's crashed plane hideout, he commits himself to a new mission, finding out who Fyers' boss is. At the same time, Fyers' is speaking to said boss, promising that all is still well on Purgatory and nothing will stop their plan. Once off the phone, he rewards Yao Fei for his loyalty with a few minutes with Shado, Fyers' captive and Yao's daughter; a girl with a dragon tattoo.

In the Arrow Cave; with Oliver up and around  Felicity explains that she's upgraded the Arrow Computer and used it to get the police lab to destroy the sample of Oliver's blood that they collected from Moria's office.  She then explains to Oliver that she is not joining his mission, but is going to help him save Walter, whom she feels partly responsible for his disappearance. Oliver agrees and gives Felicity a hug revealing that he has the same tattoo as Shado.

Oliver, convinced of his mother's innocence, then orders that no more action against Moria will be taken and when he meets her again at home as himself, promises that the vigilante will never hurt her.

Back Issue Notes

-William "Bill" Wintergreen was originally the mentor and butler to Slade “Deathstroke” Wilson. A member of the British SAS, Wintergreen was a formidable fighter and tactician himself before  being killed by a possessed Slade.

-Slade's son Joe was in fact the one who killed Wintergreen. Joesph Wilson rebelled against his father's villainous ways (especially after a vengeful mercenary cut Joe's throat rendering him permanently mute) and when he developed the power to take control of other people's bodies he joining the Teen Titans as the hero Jericho. Sadly his powers and emotional troubles left him open to demonic possession which lead to his tragic (first) death at the hands of his father.

-A woman named Shado with an elaborate dragon tattoo is an archer rival of the comic book Green Arrow. A member of the Yakuza, Shado works as an assassin, killing those who have betrayed the organization. She and Oliver Queen have had a complicated relationship that has produced one of Oliver's two sons.

The Walking Dead, “The Suicide King”

Two group leaders are starting to lose control of themselves while two relative newcomers try to keep a lid on a universal sense of panic as Walking Dead returns for the second half of its third season.

 

Neither Merle nor Daryl are enthused with the idea of having to fight each other in the name of the Governor’s justice, but an attack on the arena by Rick's team allows them to escape, though it costs the life of Haley, the young Woodbury archer. Their escape also opens a hole in the Woodbury wall, which a frighted and leaderless town doesn't notice until a few of their residents are chewed up by zombies. Andrea takes care of the immediate threat of zombies and the panicked townspeople but the Governor appears only to wordless execute a bitten civilian before retreating back to his home. 

When Andrea follows later, he reveals that the prisoners were from her old group, and that he still doesn't trust her.

When Rick's team returns to Glen at the roadside, he is none to happy about Merle's presence, less so when Merle is able to talk his brother into leaving Rick's group and travel again with him. Meanwhile Rick proclaims Michonne untrustworthy and once Hershel patchs her up, Rick wants her gone.

 

At the prison Carl leads Tyreese's group into the prison, but locks them in the cellblock exterior room. Later when it's time to bury the woman who was bitten on they way to the prison, Ben and another new arrival consider ambushing the members of Rick's group left at the prison but Tyreese is able to dissuade them of that notion.

When Rick's away team returns to the prison, Carol's sad about  Daryl leaving, Glen is raging about  Merle and the Governor's attack on Maggie and Hershel needs Rick to make a decision about Tyreese's group.

Clearly tired and stressed Rick refuses the friendship and help in the upcoming battle offered by Tyreese, and begins to hallucinate visions of Lori while ranting and waving his gun around.

Back Issue Notes

-Zombie Kill of the Week: Glen tests his engine of righteous vengeance against a moderately hapless walker, throwing him to the ground and repeatedly stomping its skull into a pate made out of brain matter with bone toothpicks.

-Ben's willingness to attack the unsuspecting and welcoming members of Rick's group heralds that the changed world has had effect on his mind just as the younger comic book version has.

Young Justice, “War”

 

Another member of DC Comic’s stable of alien villains gets used as a pawn in the battle for control of the Earth this week, but the deposed deep-space despot Mongul is not out for a few heads for his collection, he’s looking to wipe out the planet. On planet Rimbor the trial of the Justice League is proceeding at a glacial pace when word of The Reach’s presence on Earth finally reaches them. Green Lantern John Stewart explains that The Reach are a ruthless expansionist race that battled the GL Corps to a stand-still, and by treaty with The Guardians, The Reach are not allowed to occupy a world without invitation, and intervention by the Corps after such an invitation is forbidden.

While this news troubles the grown-up superheroes, in the shadows a figure prods Mongul to take action lest The Reach use humanity’s meta-human population against the other races of the galaxy. A smile creeps across the instigator’s face, it’s Vandal Savage.

As Green Beetle briefs the team about what he knows about the tyrant Mongul, the villain arrives in his Death Star-like space craft, Warworld. A moon-sized weapon of immense power, Warworld is powered by a fusion core, activated by a crystal key, protected by a fleet of drones and operated by the mind of the person sitting in its command chair.

As Warworld begins to effect the Earth’s tides (requiring the efforts of Aquaman to save civilians along the coastline) Mongul announces that he is doing Earth a favor by destroying it rather than let The Reach have it and fires his planet-killing laser. Before the Earth goes the way of Alderaan, Doctor Fate appears in the upper atmosphere and reflects the beam with an Ankh-shield back at its emitter, destroying it.

 

Leading the counter attack, Captains Atom and Marvel along with Green Beetle and Batgirl & Robin in the Bio-Ship serve as a distraction as a large team infiltrates the Warworld itself. They split up into three teams: Superboy, Wonder Girl and Arsenal take on Mongul (who proves to be more than a match for them), Bumblebee and the new Guardian head for the power plant bickering all the way about their relationship, finally Blue Beetle, Beast Boy and Impulse head for the crystal key.

After Superboy, Wonder Girl and Arsenal fail in their initial assault to take down Mongul, the alien warlord fires dozens on missiles down onto the Earth to do the job of the failed laser blast. When it’s discovered that despite the efforts of Doctor Fate and the other space-born heroes, the missiles will still destroy the Earth, The Reach is forced to reveal its hidden fleet in order to ‘save its investment.’

Bumblebee ultimately saves the day when she realized that while she can’t shut down the power, she can supercharge the control chair’s neural interface, which shocks Mongul’s brain enough to make him vulnerable to attack by Superboy, Wonder Girl and Arsenal, ending the threat.

Proud of their success, the young heroes celebrate in the Warworld’s launch bay until Blue Beetle reveals himself as being under the control of The Reach. With the Scarab’s full power, he is able to systematically disable his former teammates. While Blue Beetle and Superboy fight, Arsenal freaked out at the possibly of being kidnapped again, opens an airlock, nearly killing everyone. When the outer door is shut, he flees while Superboy covers him. In their command ship, The Reach leaders decide that revealing their fleet and their control of Blue Beetle was worth it for the control key to the War World.

Back Issue Notes

- Mongul is depicted here close to his original incarnation as a deposed tyrant bent on galactic conquest. He most frequently tangled with Superman and in the classic story For The Man Who Has Everything (which was also animated for an episode of Justice League) almost killed the hero with the semi-sentient parasitic plant Black Mercy that gives its victims visions of a perfect world just for them as it sucks them dry.

-Cat Grant is shown as the newsreader sharing information about the Warworld’s effect on Earth. Catherine “Cat” Grant is traditionally depicted as a rival of Lois Lane in the reporting business and as a more aggressive romantic competitor for the attention/affections of Clark Kent and/or Superman.

Green Lantern: The Animated Series, “Babel”

 

Cast adrift in space by the Aya-Monitor's final attack, the remaining crew of the Interceptor is drawn into the gravity well of an unknown planet. Only Razer's quick MacGyver-ing of his red battery to the drained ship's engines keeps the ship from being destroyed on impact. Damage is done however, and the trio is trapped on a world with a toxic atmosphere in a ship with a compromised life support system and three rings with a minimum of power remaining. They need time to let the ship's Green Lantern battery recharge with ambient energy, but need a place to hold out until then.

Spotting a distant colony, Hal, Kilowog and Razer are ultimately forced to hoof it there, as their rings slowly shut down their powers in order to keep a basic life-support field going. When they reach the domed colony, the short and teethy locals turn out to be hostile, and the team is forced to use some of the last of their power to flee. Once safe, Hal, and Kilowog's universal translators shut down, but any initial confusion over communication is immediately superseded when the rings die entirely and they begin to choke on the toxic air.

Razer's slightly better off ring is able to keep his partner's alive in a bubble, but he must translate for the pair as they kluge together a plan to get into the dome by sneaking in with a transport. Once inside, Razer's ring gives out as well and the trio's communication problem isn't a help while they flee from the locals. An opportunistic resident offer's his craft and a hiding place/transport, but wants payment. In their civilian clothes all Hal has is some car keys, half a pack of gum and nearly obsolete smartphone, Kilowog only has a pocketful of slimy bugs but Razer apparently never goes anywhere without a disturbing volume of knives and throwing stars. When the alien instead indicts that he instead wants the woman depicted on the screensaver of Hal's phone, none other than Carol Ferris, Kilowog ends the discussion with a crushing backhand.

The trio's flight on the stolen craft is hampered by not only their pursuers, but by their own miscommunication. After crashing, defeating a little more than a handful of knee-high enemies proves impossible without understanding each other and they are taken prisoner.

 

After coming to, they are forced to fight a giant whip-welding monster who has decorated itself with a sash covered with the skulls of defeated creatures. Powerless and unable to understand eachother, Hal and his team are unable to do more than survive against it until Hal noticed that one skull is that of a still-active Manhunter. Knowing that Manhunter's run on Green Lantern energy, Hal implies a plan that he hopes that Kilowog and Razer infer, and lets them fling him onto the creature. Snagging the robot head just in time, Hal recites the Green Lantern Oath, even while being swallowed, and bursts out in full Corps regalia, tossing the head to Kilowog, he chargers as well (with the Oath in his native language), but Razer is comically left out thanks to the chromatic mismatch.

With rings charged, Hal and Kilowog make short work of the locals and their giant monster 'mother' and flee back to the Interceptor. A few quick repairs later, they are off to confront the Aya-Monitor.

Back Issue Notes

-Best Construct Award: Almost goes to Kilowog’s trusty giant mallet whom the gruff alien welcomes back with touching affection, but the winner is instead his ‘windshield’ glass repairing field which has the potential to put all the Safelite franchises in the galaxy out of business.

- Kilowog's traditional role as “Drill Sargent” to the Green Lantern Corps comes in handy as he starts a thematically appropriate marching cadence to keep the team's pace up as they flee to the domed city

Ultimate Spider-Man, “Hawkeye”

 

Eager to enjoy some rare “me time” away from the Neo-Amazing Friends, Spider-Man rides his spider-cycle into New Jersey to visit Nick Fury and the construction site of the new SHIELD Heli-Carrier. With typical Spider-Man luck, he's just in time for the armored mercenary known as The Beetle to attack.

While the vague and silent villain was apparently only there to trash the Heli-Carrier, he apparently transfers his rage unto Spider-Man who is saved from the assault by the timely intervention of Hawkeye. After the villain flees, Fury suggests a team-up between the Avenger's archer and Spider-Man, but Hawkeye's taciturn style is immediately at odds with Peter Parker's jokes about his trick arrows and general recklessness.

After fighting off waves of mini-Beetle robots in the city, one of Spider-Man's webshooters malfunctions and that followed by a miscommunication about what to do with a epoxy arrow essentially handcuffs the two heroes together. Their situation gets worse when Spider-Man runs out of web-fluid in the one remaining shooter and then breaks Hawkeye's bowstring with his proportional strength of a spider while trying to pull it for Hawkeye.

Barely escaping after crashing through an entire skyscraper under construction, the pair is forced to hail a cab to get back to the SHIELD base where a confident villain is headed to finish his work there. Hawkeye is embarrassed by a cabbie fan of Spider-Man's is happy to give them a ride, at least until he hears he has to cross over into The Garden State.

Back at the base, a more coordinated pair of heroes fair better against the Beetle, and better still when they are finally separated from each other by the Omniblades of a careless Beetle. With the villain defeated, Hawkeye and Spider-Man part as if not friends, respected allies.

Back Issue Notes

Hawkeye (Clint Barton) made a splash in a breakout role in the recent Avengers movie and has been a team staple for decades, but was famously first introduced as a villain of Iron Man. A former trick shot artist in a traveling carnival, Hawkeye half-hardly turns to crime to support himself, but quickly realizes that his conscience is that of a hero.

-Featured in this episode is Hawkeye's aerial transport, the Sky-Cycle. A long time fixture of the hero's arsenal (unlike the Spider-Cycle), this flying motorcycle allowed the unpowered hero to keep up with his teammates while on missions. It was built for him by a rival firm of Tony Stark's while Clint was working for them as private security.  The Sky-Cycle also appears as transport for Hawkeye during two stages of the classic side-scrolling arcade brawler Captain America and the Avengers (1991).

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