SPOILERS & Backstories: Comic Book TV Week of Feb 28, 2013

We'll get you to your recaps and insider notes in a moment, but first, some quick housekeeping. Ultimate Spider-Man has entered a brief hiatus, but will return late next month. After this week's episode of Arrow, it will likewise be taking two weeks off. Your DVR isn't missing them, don't worry!

On a sad related note, the countdown of remaining GL: TAS and Young Justice episodes is down to three each. Yes, that means when Arrow returns, we'll have seen the series finales of both. We're upset too. And now, your recaps.

Arrow, “Dead To Rights”

 

Uncomfortable truths are the name of the game this week, but first an assassin by the name of Guillermo Barrera is flying into the city to do the job that Moira Queen hired China White to do: Kill Malcolm Merlyn. His arrival however has not gone unnoticed, though before McKenna and the police arrive the vigilante appears and proves that his hand to hand skills are more than a match for Barrera's throwing knives. Oliver is able to stab Guillermo in the chest with an arrow, steal his phone and be gone before police arrive.

Oliver takes the phone back to the Arrow Cave and interrupts the lesson in self-defense that Diggle is giving Felicity in order to get the pair working on breaking the phone's encryption to find who Barrera's target was. Oliver on the other hand has to run off to take McKenna to Tommy's birthday party in Laurel’s apartment. Things there were only a little awkward when McKenna mistakes a picture of a young Sara Lance (with her pet canary) for a young Laurel, but it gets worse when Malcolm Merlyn shows up.

He's brought something in a Tiffany's box for the birthday boy but he also brought something else: a plea for his estranged son to attend an award ceremony honoring the elder Merlyn's charitable work. Tommy peevishly lets his father know what he can do with the invite.

Needing a new killer, China White visits a drunk, half-blinded Floyd Lawton (aka Deadshot) and gifts him with a glowing red cyborg eyepiece and a new mission. The subject of said mission is ignorant of the danger he is in as Moira and her Chinese associate plot his death at the ceremony even as he announces that The Undertaking is mere months away from readiness.

When Felicity's hacking reveals the location of a Triad controlled Chinese restaurant where Barrera's payoff was going to take place, Oliver takes Tommy there for a recon lunch. While they share stories about physically/emotionally absent fathers, Oliver spots a Triad goon and tails him to the back room. After shutting off the lights and disabling the guards a hidden-by-darkness Oliver interrogates a Triad functionary (in, as it is shown, a perfectly accented Chinese dialect) and reveals that the hit is going down somewhere the following night.

That night, the night of the award ceremony everyone is getting ready including Tommy who has changed his mind and is willing to give his father a chance. Not giving a parent a chance is Laurel, who ignores an incoming call from her hereto unseen mother. At the ceremony, the waiters have all been replaced with Triad goons, Deadshot is on the roof with a sniper rifle and China White has hidden her namesake locks under a brown wig.

Oliver and McKenna though are at Oliver's unfinished nightclub, wondering if they can make their relationship work with their strange personal lives when Diggle reports that Felicity has jailbroken the phone and discovered that Malcolm is the target. Oliver calls Detective Lance on the Arrow Phone, but the dogged cop is more interested in a chance to get his hands on the vigilante.

At the award ceremony, a humble Malcolm laments his dead wife and the strain his reaction to it had on his family, almost bringing Tommy to tears. Once it is over though, China White triggers her trap via the fire alarm, but Malcolm doesn't fall for it by running outside to get (dead)shot. Instead he takes Tommy upstairs to the penthouse and its panic room. Along the way a pre-panicked Tommy is gobsmacked when his father disarms and kills two Triad goons with a brutal display of his Dark Archer skills. Once in the penthouse Malcolm feels safe behind the Lexan glass windows as is about to show his son his Dark Archer closet when Deadshot blows a window open and shoots Malcolm with several of his trademark poison tipped pullets.

 

Meanwhile, Oliver makes his way there to help, taking out goons and at one point unknowingly helping his greatest foe escape with his son. Confronting a de-wigged China White, the two fight until Oliver gets the advantage. However, before he can kill her, McKenna arrives threatening to shoot. Oliver then targets and shoots a fire extinguisher. The surprisingly heavy fog it creates lets both Oliver and China White get away.

Oliver gets to the penthouse to late to keep Malcolm from passing out due to the poison, but not too late to plead with a gun wielding Tommy to let him help save his father's life with a transfusion of non-poisoned blood from Tommy. Ultimately it takes Oliver revealing his identity to Tommy to gain his trust and working together, Malcolm pulls though. Later as they are loaded into an ambulance Tommy covers for his friend with Detective Lance.

At the hospital, Malcolm, apparently unaware of Oliver's identity after Tommy tells him that he saved his life, shares with his son that during the two years he was away after his wife's death he went to a place called Nanda Parbat where he found a man who showed him his purpose in life. After Tommy leaves, Malcolm angrily tells Moira that there is a traitor in their group and it's now her job to fetter him or her out. Outside the hospital room Tommy only asks Oliver if he was ever going to tell him about his activities as the vigilante. When Oliver says no, Tommy leaves without saying anything.

Back in the Arrow Cave, Oliver tells Diggle that his brother's killer, Deadshot, is still alive. Diggle doesn’t seem to take it well. Left behind Laurel however gets a visit in person from her mother, who tells an otherwise disinterested young Lance that her sister Sara might still be alive.

On Purgatory, this weeks parallel story about communication concerns the broken radio in Slade's crashed plane hideout. A feeling-better Slade would much rather continue training, but Oliver wants to fiddle with the communications gear as he is convinced he can get it working. It turns out he's partially right, a few days later and they can hear but not transmit. Ultimately, they hone in on Eddie Fyers' signal and learn about the arrival of 'Scylla,' which they learn after some recon is a powerful anti-aircraft missile battery that   could be the key to what Fyers is doing on the island.

Back Issue Notes

- Guillermo Barrera is the real name of the villain Brutale, once a torturer (specializing in the use of knives) in the employ of a despotic South American regime, Guillermo turned to consumed villainy after his patron despot was overthrown and regularly tangled with Nightwing after his move to Blüdhaven.

-As before, Deadshot is holed up in the Blüdhaven Apartments, named for the blue-collar industrial city down the road from Gotham that Nightwing moved to practice some solo heroics.

-Deadshot's cross hair eyepiece is a key element of his design, though the comic book version of the hit-man still has both of his biological eyes.

-The comic book Nanda Parbat is a Tibetan-like city high in the mountains of Central Asia. Hidden by magic, it is known as a place of supernatural peace and high philosophy that transcends the concepts of good and evil. Several DC heroes and villains were 'born' there or were changed by the experience of visiting.

The Walking Dead, “I Ain't a Judas”

 

Andrea finds herself torn between three worlds this week: her new life in Woodbury, her old friends in Rick's Group and the ruins of the old world the occupies the space in between.

First off though Merle, locked in the outer cell block room for now teases his new/old group that they should have made a break for in the night,since by now The Governor must have people out on the roads and the prison watched day and night. Hershel agrees, but an amped up Glenn wants to go after the Woodbury leader and a worn out Rick is resigned to the coming war and starts to leave. The old farmer is having none of it, loudly but futilely challenging Rick to assert some leadership.

Outside, Rick carefully overlooks the zombie infested outer prison yard for The Governor's men but is soon joined by his son, who timidly asks his clearly weary father if he'd give up leadership to Hershel and Daryl.

In Woodbury, The Governor and Milton are going over the town's 'census' counting the able bodied men, women and teens for an expanded militia when Andrea storms in angry over the prison raid. The Governor lies that they went in peace, but Rick's group fired first. Incredulous, Andrea asks to visit the prison herself but The Governor threatens exile if she dares.

Back at the prison, Glenn's anger has landed back on Merle, to the point where he suggests trading the natural born antagonizer to The Governor for a chance at peace,. Meanwhile Hershel and Merle get to know each other, bonding over bible verses and severed limbs. For his kindness, Merle reveals what kind of vindictive man The Governor is, describing how he'll kill Hershel’s daughters in front of him.

While The Governor inspects his new (4-F at best) troops, Andrea asks a super-nervous Milton to cover for her as she sneaks off to the prison. Dutifully Milton tells The Governor (who tests his stabbed eye's vision with a lit match to little effect) of her plans but The Governor decides to keep his spy in place and let Andrea go.

In the woods, with Milton's help, Andrea tackles a walker, hacks its arms off and then uses a rock to 'curbstomp' its teeth out. Their operation attracted a small host of zombies, however, and though Andrea and her hand ax is typically effective, out comes Tyreese's Group.

Even though that's where they were coming from and where Andrea is going, no one mentions the prison, but Milton is happy to take them to Woodbury while she goes off on her own with her Michonne'd zombie as lead blocker in a man-catcher.

 

At the prison, Merle is attempting (in his own special way) to apologize to Michonne for hunting her like game, but she's not having it. When Andrea arrives on foot, it's Carl that spots her first, but she doesn’t get a warm welcome from Rick, who treats her like a perp at his old job. Once inside Andrea gets the updated death toll and is shocked at how her former group-mates are looking and thinking. Andrea pleads for peace, but Rick and his group are resigned to war. Later, Andrea tries to make up with Michonne, but the latter reveals that she was hunted by Merle on The Governor's order, and that she went back to Woodbury to hurt The Governor to let know how Andrea had hurt her by turning her back.

In Woodbury, Tyreese's Group is getting a friendly welcome from The Governor and Milton, one that grows warmer when they reveal that they were recently inside the prison and have info about the layout and defenses.

Before Andrea leaves the prison with a gun and a car supplied by Rick, she spends some time with baby Judith and Carol, who shockingly recommends that Andrea return to The Governor's bed, get him to drop his guard with sex then kill him in the night. With Andrea gone and the situation grim, Rick deices he's going on a supply run the next day with Carl and Michonne, warning Daryl to keep an eye on his brother.

Finally in Woodbury, Andrea confesses to The Governor about her trip and he forgives her and reminds her she belongs with him. They have sex, but in the night a naked Andrea can't go though with the plan to murder The Governor, and instead stares out into the night.

Back Issue Notes

-Zombie Kill of the Week: Though Andrea's dismemberment and curbstomp will win the show its third consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special, she didn't actually kill the walker in that sequence, disqualifying it for this award. Instead it goes to Andrea's backhanded axing as she approached the prison gates; a strike that typifies the important of situational awareness in a zombie filled world.

-The bible verses that Hershel and Merle discuss are Matthew 5:29-30, but while they discuss removing sin-causing body parts, the context is over the subject of adultery, and it immediately follows the verse concerning “lust in one's heart” that once, after being misunderstood, got President Jimmy Carter in trouble.

-Milton survives his first on-screen foray outside of the walls of Woodbury, a better fate than his closest comic book analog: Dr. Stevens, who gets himself eaten about fifteen seconds after leaving Woodbury with an escaping Rick. The TV Dr. Stevens, the town medical doctor, has been smart enough to stay safe so far.

Young Justice, “The Hunt”

 

The Reach Scientist, Ambassador and Black Beetle take verbal stock of their situation: to protect their investment on Earth their invasion fleet was exposed and nearly wiped out and though they have captured the bulk of Earth's heroes, the War World's crystal key and placed Blue Beetle in position as Earth's Human/Reach co-branded savior, the key room is guarded by active Leagues and useless to them. Black Beetle is optimistic however as their overall cover is in place, and the one remaining loose end should be tied up soon.

That loose end is Arsenal, who is still running around inside the War World, avoiding Reach patrols as he tries to contact any hero anywhere and avoid running out of ammo. Outside in space, Nightwing and Miss Marian scan the big enough to be a moon space station looking for their teammates but have no luck.

After The Reach Ambassador gives another speech about how The Reach are humanity's friends (sealed with their 'gift' of the War World to the people of Earth) and Blue Beetle is a real hero, while the Justice League are just troublemakers, the former Reach abducted in Taos, NM are going to town against any Reach propaganda they find. These four former test subjects, have come a long way on their own developing their powers and when they get an offer from Lex Luthor to go to the aid of Superboy and the rest of the young heroes, they jump at the chance to pay them back for their own rescue. Lex provides them with an  Father Box and they promptly use it to boom tube to the War World.

 

Aboard the new team is immediately ambushed by Reach guards, but are able to sucker them into letting their guard down. With the  Father Box's help they start to track Superboy's DNA as Arsenal tails them in secret.

Nightwing and Miss Martian return to the War World docking bay where Blue Beetle betrayed the team and after a quick guilt-off over who's fault the situation they are in is, the Sphere/Super-Cycle (last seen being blown into space from that very point) knocks on the airlock door and is let in. Since it is made of the same AI tech as the  Father Box, it's more than happy to help the pair track down Superboy as well.

Meanwhile on the G. Gordon Godfrey show The Reach Ambassador sits down for what he thinks is just another fawning live interview with his favorite propaganda catapult, but is caught entirely off guard when GGG confronts him over The Ambassador’s story about coming to Earth in only one unarmed ‘consular ship’ when a whole fleet of Reach ships emerges from the oceans to defend the Earth against the War World. The Ambassador struggles to keep his cool as G. Gordon presses him while shaking a can of the Reach soda in his face to come clean about some of the other lies he may have told.

Back on War World, everything comes together in the Stasis Room. The foursome find the team first, but is freaked when Black Beetle arrives and starts to take them down with ease. Arsenal joins the fight late, and cleverly releases Mongul first, so the two villains can hash out their issues while the rest of the team is revived. While all this is happening though, another  Father Box opens a boom tube for Deathstroke who steals the crystal key while everyone is distracted.

 

With the team all revived and reunited even with Nightwing and Miss Martian, a hasty retreat is ordered while Black Beetle is occupied. Aboard the Bio-Ship, Bumblebee reads Arsenal the riot act for opening the airlock on them when he panicked over the thought to being captured again, Nightwing interrupts her to thank Arsenal for the save, but still fires him from the team for his string of selfish and unpredictable actions. Nightwing then offers the four new heroes membership on the team, but they react incredulous since just a few days ago they were only valuable as test subjects to them and for how Arsenal was treated after saving all their lives. Vigil offers Arsenal a spot on their team, and the five boom tube away before anyone can stop them

Back in Taos, Luthor congratulates the outsiders, but Arsenal, still made over his initial kidnapping and dismemberment, breaks the team away from Lex's control after he successfully figures out that the rescue mission was just a distraction for Deathstroke. Arsenal and the Outsiders destroy their link to Lex and the  Father Box then flee into the night.

Back Issue Notes

-Though seen before, the  Father Box is an Apokoliptic version of the Motherbox, a sentient computer capable of amazing feats including bridging vast distances via boom tubes. If The Light is still allied with Apokolips, the timing of G. Gordon Godfrey's turn on The Reach could not be a coincidence.

Green Lantern: The Animated Series, “Larfleeze”

 

Hal and his team are only half paying attention as a Guardian chews them out over their inadvertent creation of the Aya-Monitor. The tiny blue immortal offers a software patch (in the form of the less useful and curvy AI Lanos) and orders the ship back to Oa for a reckoning, but Hal is having none of it. Brainstorming for an edge in power to shake Aya up a little and get her to see reason and back off from her 'kill everything' plan, Razer mentions they they could try and harness the Orange Energy of Avarice, which he describes as an ancient power that once rivaled the Red before disappearing back to its home world of Okaara.

Thinking that is a good plan, the team splits up (sort of) when they arrive to look for the Orange Central Battery, however Kilowog sticks to Razer to clumsily try and get the angry young man to open up about his feelings re: Aya. This distraction allows Hal to reach the Orange sanctuary first and after noticed the foul smell, flies, dilapidation and a creepy voice calling out “mine,” presses inward. He finds the Orange Battery atop a pedestal surrounded by piles of orange rings and starts to get really possessive of it, especially when the current and sole wielder of the Orange Light, Larfleeze, a barely bipedal alien that resembles a half rat half alligator swarmed by flies, furiously attacks the man who stole his battery.

 

Hal flees with his new favorite thing in all the universe from a trio of orange constructs, then a giant orange Larfleeze until he is saved by Kilowog and Razor. Falling back to the Interceptor, the idea that Hal would share the battery to help defeat the Aya-Monitor is too much for him and Orange Light overtakes him, changing him into an Orange Lantern and inspiring him to flee back to the Orange sanctuary.

Giving chase, Razer and Kilowog eventually pressure Larfleeze into helping them help him take the Orange Battery back from Hal. In the pedestal room, Hal arms himself with an orange ring for every finger and the Red/Green/Orange battle rages to a standstill until the stars in the Okaaran sky start to go out; the Aya-Monitor is extinguishing suns, dozens at a time.

The magnitude of the unfolding disaster drags Hal back to reason and he relinquishes the rings and the Orange Battery back to Larfleeze (who is grateful, but not enough to part with even a fly in gratitude, though in his defense he does at least consider sharing something).

The Interceptor crew in the end debate if Aya can be saved at all, and a once skeptical Hal admits that if his friends saved him from the Orange Energy, they can all save Aya from her path as well.

Back Issue Notes

 

-Best Construct Award: Hal disperses the constructs that Larfleeze sent after him initially by dropping a solid-light dump truck, complete with an air horn sound effect from a great height. The truck was green, but I doubt it was energy efficient.

-Since sharing power would be counter-intuitive to a wielder of the Orange Light of Avarice (aka Greed) Larfleeze is, with rare and always temporary exceptions, the only Orange Lantern in the Universe.

-A special power of the Orange Light is to create constructs of the sentient being that an Orange Lantern has killed. Larfleeze exclaims “Glomulus!” after Hal crushes three copies with his dump truck, and a Kirby-like construct that was once the creature Glomulus is the comic book Larfleeze's go-to attack method.

-An image of a crazed-looking Hal wearing orange rings on each finger is an eerie callback to the infamous Emerald Twilight comic book storyline, where Hal Jordan, driven mad by tragedy and alien influence goes berserk on the Green Lantern Corps, stealing the rings of his defeated former allies and wearing them all on his hands.

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