It’s been an open secret in the world of comic books that The Joker knows, and has always known, that Bruce Wayne is Batman. He just doesn’t care. It wouldn’t be funny for him to sneak into Wayne Manor in the middle of the night and put a bullet in Bruce Wayne’s head while he’s sleeping. It’s Batman who he’s interested in, Batman is his playmate. Well after years of teasing it looks like The Joker is finally going to pull the ripcord on pretending he doesn’t know that Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same man. He’s finally going to play that Ace up up his sleeve. This awesome art from Jorge Jimenez gives us a little preview of things to come in the upcoming Joker War storyline. It certainly looks like The Clown Prince of Crime is not holding back.
To add another interesting wrinkle to the story, The Joker’s got a new girlfriend and her name is Punchline. The Joker and Harley has been consciously uncoupled for several years now, with Harley Quinn leaning more into hero than villain territory these days. So it looks like Mister J. has moved on to a woman who is more interested in keeping up with his bloody, homicidal antics. We’ve only seen a little bit of Punchline in the current Batman comics, but expect her to play a bigger role as we get closer to Joker War. Here’s more beautiful art by Jorge Jimenez, who designed Punchline, so you can get a better look at the character and how she is different from Harley Quinn.
Joker War will be written by James Tynion IV, the current writer of DC’s monthly Batman comic. Tynion’s been doing excellent Batman work at DC for several years now, on books like Detective Comics and his current run on Batman. He also worked closely with Scott Snyder, arguably the greatest modern Batman writer, on Snyder’s Batman books as well as co-writing multiple issues of Snyder’s recent run on Justice League. This storyline has been teased for awhile now and we’ve been treated to sneak peeks at The Joker while he’s planning his masterpiece.
As you can see in the images below, any doubt about how much knowledge The Joker really has about Batman and his family, is quickly erased…
Because of the national health crisis, there haven’t been any new monthly comic books shipped to vendors over the last few weeks. Regular comic book distribution to Comic Book Store‘s and apps like ComiXology, is expected to begin again in mid-May, in a few weeks. So the release dates of storylines like Joker War, that were supposed to start at the end of April or the beginning of May with Batman # 95, No loolike a late May or early June beginning for the joker war. Fortunately however long it takes, things will get back on track. This is definitely going to be a big story for the Batman franchise so look for more coverage when Joker War begins in late May or June. I know I’m excited!
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!
2019 was a great year for TV! Streaming services and premium cable networks in particular, have put out some excellent new series over the last year! From shows like WATCHMEN to THE MANDALORIAN, Paul Sr. and I talk about our favorite TV shows of 2019 on this episode of The World’s Best Podcast!
Thanks for listening! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, which go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!
Titans is a weird show. In a television landscape filled with superhero shows, Titans doesn’t quite feel like anything else on TV or streaming at the moment. It may share some superficial similarities to other comic book shows, but the series has an “X factor” that’s hard to define. Titans is about a group of young heroes (some only in their mid-teens) trying to find their place in the world. Though it isn’t made explicitly clear how old the most senior members of the Titans are, they seem to be in their 20s at the oldest. The series is also extremely dark, violent, and graphic. I have no doubt that the violence and language on this show would earn Titans a hard R-rating if it were a film instead of a streaming series. The combination of a young generation of heroes, the ultraviolent nature of the series, along with it’s willingness to dive headfirst into the rich character and story history of DC Comics, makes for a very unique tone.
The series borrows from some fantastic DC Comics stories and characters, both big and small. Some of which like Bruce Wayne (Iain Glen from Game of Thrones) who is recurring character throughout Season 2, were off-limits to television until just a few years ago. Warner Bros. used to have this pretty stupid rule where they did not want their A-list characters like Batman or Superman to ever appear on any of their live action TV shows when a big screen counterpart was currently being depicted in a movie series with a different actor in the same role. For example, while Christian Bale was still officially Batman, a show like Arrow could never introduce their own version of Bruce Wayne. I think people can tell the difference, it’s almost like they think the audience will be too confused by 2 versions of the same character in completely different mediums. Fortunately, this policy seems to slowly be going away bit by bit.
Titans always has a lot of balls in the air. I’m always surprised at the sheer amount of story and concepts that they introduce in any given season. I’d find myself thinking, how are they going to tell a cohesive, season long story with all of these disparate elements at play? For me at least, it works (in it’s own unconventional way). The strength of this series lies with it’s characters. The Titans themselves are the beating heart of the show. This might seem obvious or a necessity for any successful TV series (or streaming series, in this case), but some shows rely on the intricacies of a complex plot more than others. Shows like Lost, Battlestar Galactica, The Wire, and HBO’s recent Watchmen are all great examples of shows that work like a finely tuned watch (not to say that these shows don’t have fantastic characters, it’s just that these examples are much more dependent on plot driven storylines). All the pieces of the story come together to form something extraordinary. For Titans, the magic happens when the show is at it’s most character driven. DC hasn’t been quite as successful as Marvel at bringing some of it’s less well known characters to life, but when it comes to Titans, they have some deep enough cuts that there’s excitement in just seeing these characters brought to life and brought to life well. Whether it’s Dick Grayson violently confronting the man who murdered his parents, or Raven banishing her demonic father, Trigon, back to Hell to save the world and her newfound Titans family. Truly great shows can have their cake and eat it too: a thrilling, well plotted story and rich, fascinating characters. I enjoy the hell out of Titans, but keep your expectations in check if you decide to give it a watch. So for this review of the Season 2 finale of Titans, I’m going to be focusing on the characters first and foremost.
Season 1 was very much Rachel and Dick‘s season. Things are spread out much more evenly through Season 2, I think to the shows benefit. With new characters being introduced and some side characters from season one now having larger rules, the show has become more of an ensemble. Which is exactly what it should be because Titans is team show. Characters like Donna Troy, Connor Kent, and even Hawk and Dove had some great material this season. Gar felt like the odd man out. Very interesting character and I wish they gave him more to do. The same goes for Jason Todd, while he did have a good amount of screen time, he took a backseat in the latter half of the season and we didn’t get much closure regarding where he’s heading going into Season 3.
If I had to say there was a central character this season, I’d probably have to go with Dick. The last two years of the show have been about his emotional journey, culminating in his transformation into Nightwing. Season 1 was all about Dick’s search for identity. So much of who he is was defined by his relationship with Bruce Wayne, a man that he has a great deal of anger and resentment towards. A really nice recurring aspect to this season was that we slowly got to see Dick and Bruce rebuilding their relationship with one another.
Unfortunately, when you’re a superhero there’s always more torment and angst right around the corner. Dick may have worked through his issues with Bruce in Season 1, but Season 2 is all about him dealing with the guilt he for his role in how the Titans originally broke up and the lives that were destroyed during that time.
In case it’s not clear, years before Dick met Rachel and began this new version of The Titans or Titans 2.0, there was an original teen that formed years before the group we meet in Season 1. The original Titans included Dick as Robin, Donna Troy, Hawk and Dove, and the tragically fated Aqualad. Garth AKA Aqualad was in love with Donna Troy and had been for years. She loved him too, but her sense of duty clouded her judgement and she repressed her feelings for Garth. I think a lot of us can relate to that situation, especially when you’re young pining after someone for years. You want to be with them so bought bad your chest aches.
Speaking of Season 3, like the Superboy and Krypto teaser at the end of Season 1, we get a brief teaser at the end of the episode showing Kory’s sister Blackfire arriving on Earth, presumably to wreak havoc on her sisters life. Lex Luthor is also directly referenced at one point in the episode. When the shit hits the fan with Cadmus as the Titans fuck up that whole operation, Lex puts in an angry call to Mercy Graves. Mercy is Lex’s right hand woman and the person responsible for brainwashing and weaponizing Connor and Gar. With Superboy now a big part of the team and such a public disaster for Cadmus in the season finale, I wonder if we will get to see this show’s version of Lex Luthor, much in the same way we got to see the show’s version of Bruce Wayne this year? At the very least it seems like Blackfire (Kory’s evil sister) will be a major villain in Season 3 since it was just announced that she would be joining the show as a series regular in the next season.
By the end of the Season 2 Finale, the team finally looks and functions like a classic version of the Teen Titans from the comics. A big part of this is the fact that finally, at long last, Dick Grayson has become Nightwing. A debut that fans have been waiting for since pretty much the first episode of the series. This a good example of how the series can struggle with pacing and the problems with how they choose to unfold their stories. Most fans of the show would probably say Dick finally becoming Nightwing is about a season and a half overdue. However, despite the wait, the long overdue debut of Nightwing was pretty fucking awesome. The costume look great and seeing Nightwing swoop in to save his friends from Deathstroke was sick. Dick’s final face off with Slade, swords clashing against Nightwing’s classic electrified batons and all, was very fun and satisfying.
As much fun as the fight was, it was another example of how the series struggles to handle plot and pacing. Deathstroke has been the main Season 2 antagonist, but about half way through the season, a subplot was introduced involving Superboy (Connor Kent), Beast Boy (Gar Logan), and the sinister Cadmus Labs. Cadmus is a front for Lex Luthor, run by his right hand woman Mercy Graves, to sell meta-human weapons on the black market, with the captured Conner and Gar as the star products. Cadmus was certainly a cool and interesting element throughout the season, but it was a little jarring to see Deathstroke finished off so early in the episode with the focus of the finale entirely shifting to rescuing Connor and Gar and taking down Cadmus.
The sequence itself was a lot of fun and had some great moments, but then a major character is killed off almost out of nowhere with relatively little fanfare. Again, while it didn’t kill the episode, it was certainly an odd choice. This episode is a great showcase of what’s great and what doesn’t work with Titans.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t comment on Iain Glen‘s great performance as Bruce Wayne throughout Season 2. I didn’t think he would be as much of a presence on the show as he was. I thought he would maybe have one or two cameos in a few episodes, but he ended up being in quite a few. I really liked his take on Bruce Wayne, it’s definitely not a side of the character we’ve seen much of and certainly not at all in live-action. He’s an older, more paternal version of the character and despite his darkness and cynicism, you can see the genuine happiness it brings him to reconcile with Dick. There are a few scenes where you see that Bruce is just as emotionally vulnerable about their relationship as Dick is. It’s in moments like those that show us glimpses of the man whose trauma stunted him somewhat developmentally. He never quite grew up completely. It’s a really insightful take on Bruce Wayne and I applaud the writers and Iain Glen for going there. My only complaint would be that a significant portion of Bruce Wayne‘s presence in the season was a hallucination in Dick’s mind. Since this wasn’t really Bruce, just Dick’s perception of Bruce within his subconscious, Glen is basically playing another character. There’s hallucination Bruce and there is real Bruce. Even though we got quite a bit of the real Bruce present throughout the season, the hallucination Bruce probably represented a third of his appearances throughout. I wanted to see much more of the real Bruce. I really like the actor and his take on one of the most complex and multifaceted individuals in all of fiction, was always fun to watch.
To wrap things up, Titans is by no means a perfect show but it is a lot of fun. Season 2 was a large improvement over Season 1, but they still have some work to be done when it comes to plotting and execution of their storylines. If you’re a DC fan in particular, there’s a lot to love here. The characters are great and by the end of the season the show is starting to look a lot like the Teen Titans we’ve read in the comic books for years. If you don’t have DC Universe, Titans Season 2 will probably be available on iTunes and Blu-ray soon. This show gets my recommendation as long as you go into it keeping your expectations in check.
TITANS Season 2 Finale = 8/10
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!
On this episode of “The World’s Best Podcast”, I have a minor mental breakdown as I freak out while discussing the cataclysmic, APOCALYPTIC changes in store for mankind as a result of climate change. Don’t judge me, this is scary shit! With The Bahamas suffering from the devastation of last weeks storm, I thought it might be a good time to talk about how we should all pay more attention to the negative consequence of climate change before it’s too late.
Oh, and I also review the Season 2 premiere of TITANS. even if you don’t have the DC UNIVERSE app where TITANS is available for streaming, you can also check it out on Blu-ray and iTunes. Once the season has been on DC UNIVERSE for a little while, they usually make the series available on Netflix for awhile.
TITANS isn’t without its flaws, but it’s a really cool superhero show that deserves more attention than it’s getting. With appearances by Bruce Wayne, Deathstroke, Superboy, and more classic DC characters, TITANS Season 2 is shaping up to be pretty entertaining.
During my review for the Season 2 premiere of TITANS on DC UNIVERSE, I discuss how extensive and impressive their comic book library is. Pretty much any great DC Comics story you would want to read is available on the app right now. With more being added all the time. So below I made a list of the 10 best comic book stories that are currently available on DC UNIVERSE, check it out…
The Top Ten Best Comic Books Available On DC UNIVERSE
The Dark Knight Returns (Writer: Frank Miller, Artist: Frank Miller/ Klaus Janson)
All Star Superman (Writer: Grant Morrison, Artist: Frank Quietly)
Batman: The Long Halloween (Writer: Jeph Loeb, Artist: Tim Sale)
Superman: Red Son (Writer: Mark Millar, Artist: Dave Johnson)
Batman: The Court of Owls (Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Greg Capullo)
Wonder Woman: Year One (Writer: Greg Rucka, Artist: Nicola Scott)
Swamp Thing (The New 52, Issue #1-40) (Writer: Scott Snyder/Charles Soule, Artist: Yanick Paquette/Jesus Saiz)
Justice League: The Darkseid War (Writer: Geoff Johns, Artist: Jason Fabok)
Green Lantern: Rebirth (Writer: Geoff Johns, Artist: Ethan Van Sciver)
Batman: Year One (Writer: Frank Miller, Artist: David Mazzucchelli)
These stories are just the tip of the iceberg. I honestly could’ve listed at least 20 more phenomenal, classic DC tales you can download and read, completely for free, as a DC UNIVERSE subscriber.
Thanks for listening! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting the show. We really appreciate the loyalty shown to us by World’s Best Media fans, so thanks again!
*Editors Note (correction)- In this episode of the podcast, I mentioned Iceland’s melting glaciers. While there are glaciers in Iceland, experiencing melting due to Man made climate chang , some of the world’s most dangerous and major glacier melting is largely taking place in Greenland. I misspoke, sorry for the confusion. As a bonus, I’ve posted a brief, but informative video about Greenland’s melting glaciers you should definitely check out. Watch it right here:
I think it’s fair to say that the majority of people out there don’t have the DC Universe streaming service yet. I think the majority of subscribers are Superfans like myself. I don’t know what kind of numbers DC Universe is pulling down, but I think eventually Warner Bros., the parent company that owns DC Universe, will bundle the streaming services with others that Warner Bros. are developing. Just like some of their competition is doing. When Disney+ launches in November, subscribers will be able to purchase a bundle deal that will include Disney+, Hulu, and an ESPN streaming service of some kind. I’ve read reports that indicate the Disney+ bundle is going to be available for around $12 or $13 a month, which is a fucking steal in my opinion. I only mention this because I think that’s what will probably happen with DC Universe eventually.
Anyway, back to TITANS. Even though the show premiered on DC Universe, TITANS Season 1 was available on Netflix for a while, I’m not sure if it still is (I just checked, it isn’t). It’s also available on Blu-ray and digitally through iTunes. It takes a few episodes to get going, but once the show found it’s footing, I thought it was a really strong first season. TITANS has some very interesting characters, some stand out action sequences, and it’s actually fairly unique. Even among the over crowded market of superhero TV shows, TITANS managed to stand out . In fact, every series that DC Universe has produced has been more or less excellent across-the-board: Titans, Young Justice: Outsiders, Doom Patrol, and Swamp Thing are all fantastic shows.
Season 2 looks like it’s really upping the ante, the list of new characters include: Superboy, Krypto, Rose Wilson AKA Ravager, Aqualad, and Deathstroke, to name a few. However, the character I’m most excited to see is another new addition to Season 2, Bruce Wayne. Considering how large Bruce’s shady loomed in Dicks life and the series as a whole, he really felt like a character on the show despite not actually being featured in the first season (with the exception of dream sequences or partial views here and there). It will be great to finally see him in the flesh as a REAL character on the show this time. Also, I love the show’s excellent casting for Bruce Wayne, Ian Glenn a.k.a. Ser Jorrah Mormont himself from a Game of Thrones. I think that’s perfect casting for a older Bruce Wayne/Batman.
This almost seems like a almost The Dark Knight Returns era Bruce Wayne. Anyone who watched Game of Thrones knows that Ian Glenn is more than physically up to the challenge of playing Batman. I’ve heard the producer say that the focus won’t be as much on Batman, but Bruce Wayne instead. I think that’s a smart way for the show to have his cake and eat it too. Batman is such a huge figure, by not having him suit up he won’t overshadow the other heroes, but we still get to see and explore Bruce Wayne as a character. I can’t wait to see how he and Dick interact after all of the baggage that was built up between the two of them in the first season. The relationship between Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne is one of the most interesting dynamics in comic books, finally seeing this pairing in live action for the first time (Batman Forever and Batman & Robin don’t count) is super exciting. You can check out the trailer for TITANS Season 2 below:
This week also saw the release of the final trailer for JOKER from director Todd Phillips, with Joaquin Phoenix playing the titular Clown Prince Of Crime. At World’s Best Media, I’ve dedicated little to no coverage to this movie. I don’t think I’d be exaggerating to say that I’m fundamental against the very concept of this movie’s existence.
The buzz surrounding JOKER has been great, Joaquin Phoenix looks like he’s going to deliver a fantastic performance, and the trailers have been solid as hell, but that’s not really the point. It’s essentially a Joker origin story and, for me at least, there in lies the problem. Don’t get me wrong, there’ve been fantastic Joker stories that teased possible origins for the character. The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, Batman: Endgame by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm, all of these classics stories present a possible origin for The Joker, but none of them present the origin as definitive. The stories never give you the whole picture of who this guy really is, why he does what he does, and is the information we just learned about him even real? The stories always leaves a question mark at the end, things are left ambiguous. However, this new film is just a straight up origin. This is the story of how one man, Arthur Fleck, goes from A to B to C and becomes The Joker.
If there is one character in all of fiction that will only be hurt by definitive origin story it’s, The Joker. I always say the joker is to the normal people of Gotham white Batman is to the criminals. This almost supernatural force who seems to be everywhere at once and 10 steps ahead of every move you can make, The Boogeyman. Chaos and Madness incarnate. Which is why he such a compelling antagonist for a Batman, because a lot of what I just said about The Joker could be said about Batman. When you have a character as iconic as The Joker, the reveal that the story could possibly give you, can never live up to what you have built up in your head. Your imagination fills in the blanks in a way the storytellers never can.
Sure, I get JOKER is it’s own standalone movie, it’s not affecting anything other DC films, TV shows, or comics. But fictional characters have pop culture capital and a high-profile project like this can increase or decrease that capital. That’s just another way of saying, if a Joker origin movie sucks, it hurts this fantastic character outside of this movie. The Joker is bigger than one film. You could make an argument that the character of The Joker is almost as important as Batman himself. When a character is as compelling, beloved, and interesting as The Joker, you don’t want to see them fuck it up. Like I said before, I’ve heard nothing but positive things about this film and Joaquin phoenix looks like he’s putting on a hell of a performance. Still, Despite everything the movie has going for it, I’m just not that into this kind of Joker film. I’ll probably see Joker when it comes out. Then I can report back if I was right, or I was wrong and I need to eat a little crow, or things fell somewhere in the middle. Who knows? We’ll find out in a little over a month. Anyway check out the trailer below …
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting the show. We really appreciate the loyalty shown to us by World’s Best Media fans, so thanks again!
This weekend, DC is premiering their latest live action television series, Swamp Thing, on their DC Universe Streaming Service. Swamp Thing is one of my all-time favorite DC comic books, so I’m very excited to see an adaptation of this classic series. Early word is that the show is very good and really leans into the horror vibe that the comic book lends itself to. You can check out the trailer below and some photos from the first few episodes. Swamp Thing starring Andy Bean, Crystal Reed, Will Patton, Virginia Madsen, and Kevin Durand premieres on 5/31/19 on DC Universe. Swamp Thing is executive produced by James Wan, director of Insidious, The Conjuring 1 & 2, Fast 7, Aquaman, and more.
On this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, I review the new DC superhero movie SHAZAM! starring Zachary Levi.Shazam may not be well known, but at one time his comic book series was outselling Superman. DC may not be knocking it out of the park with their movies like Marvel, but they’re on the right track. With missteps like Suicide Squad and Justice League out of the way, DC has built up a solid roster of stand alone movies with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and now Shazam. SPOILERS are discussed in this episode, but I cover the characters history and some other interesting topics before breaking down the movie.
Listen to the episode here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
I wanted to take a minute to talk about Supergirl on the CW. Before I get into the show, I want to put something in context first. Lex Luthor is by far one of my favorite comic book characters. I think different generations have their own definitive superman. To many people of a certain age Richard Donner’s Superman with Christopher Reeves as the Man of Steel, is the standard by which all other portrayals of the character are judged.
For a lot of people in my generation, Superman The Animated Series is THEIR Superman in the same way Christopher Reeves was for previous generations. Superman The Animated Series ( or STAS or brevity’s sake) is by far my favorite interpretation of the Superman mythos. However, the show doesn’t only have what is, in my opinion, the best on screen Superman that we’ve had it also has the best Lex Luthor. Anytime a new Superman film is being made I’m always hoping to see the filmmakers will portray Lex Luthor as the incredibly interesting and complex character that he is. Unfortunately, my hopes are never realized. When Lex inevitably gets fucked up, I always find myself saying why the fuck don’t they just do the Lex Luthor from the animated series? Clancy Brown, who did the voice of Lex are on STAS is my iconic Luthor.
I’ve said this many times, but Lex Luthor for at least the last 30 years has been portrayed in the comic books as what I describe as a slightly more amoral Tony Stark. In fact, the argument could be made that Tony Stark is more dangerous than Lex Luthor in many ways. Yet I keep seeing these goofy, stupid portrayals of Lex on the big screen. Have these people even bothered to pick up a Superman comic book from the past three decades besides The Death of Superman?
Kevin Spacey was just playing Gene Hackman as Lex. In Superman Returns, Lex has what is without a doubt the stupidest master plan from a super villain in a comic book movie. The master plan involving real estate is another example of a generation that is so overly reverent towards the Christopher Reeves Superman that it actually hurts the film. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was an abortion for the eyes (I REFUSE to even include a photograph of him as the character in this article). It’s was a fucking disgrace and everyone involved in the decisions that resulted that version of ”Lex”. * A quick side note: I’ve heard a few people insist that Jesse Eisenberg‘s Lex Luthor is actually supposed to be the son of the real, more traditional Lex Luthor, that would’ve been introduced down the line. I never took that from BvS at any point. I could be wrong, but I’m almost 100% sure that this was supposed to be straight up Lex Luthor, not Lex Jr. I’m not sure of people where people are getting that one from and if anyone could clarify in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts. The only live action take on the character that I thought was done well, was Michael Rosenbaum on Smallville. Smallville was a silly and sometimes campy show, but Lex was always one of the show’s strongest aspects.
To my surprise, it was announced that this season of Supergirl would be introducing Lex Luthor for the first time. It was it wasn’t going to be a one off either, he was going to be on the show for a good while. For some reason Warner Bros. and DC have had this weird rule for a long time, that they seem to be bending now for some reason, that prohibits character’s like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and some other big characters like Lex Luthor from appearing in a live action television show and a film at the same time. The reasoning that they seem to give is that the audience will just be baffled at the idea of two different people portraying this character, which tells you everything you really need to know about how the creative intelligence off Hollywood executives.
In Supergirl’s second season, the two part premiere episodes introduced Tyler Hoechlin as Superman. He did a fantastic job and there’s an argument to be made that he’s the best live-action Superman right now. I like this version of the character so much that I’d like to see more of him, but I’m happy they didn’t make his appearance a one off. He appeared on Supergirl later in season two and has popped up a few more times on the series in the last couple of years. Even cooler was when Superman was a big part of this year‘s excellent Arrowverse Crossover Elseworlds, where they also introduced Lois Lane for the first time. Like I said, it always seems like those characters were off-limits, so I was pleasantly surprised that we’ve seen as much of Superman as we have.
The same thing happened when they announced Lex was going to be on Supergirl. Then they announced Jon cryer would be playing Lex Luthor. At first glance this would seem like a terrible idea because he seem like just another skinny geek and that’s the last thing we want to see after Jesse Eisenberg‘s portrayal. But I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I figured this guy is so incredibly loaded from his years on Two and a Half Men that he does not have to do any project he doesn’t want to do. So there must’ve been something he saw in this character that would allow him to stretch his acting muscles in a completely different way. He just spent over a decade doing comedy, I figured maybe he’s up for a darker role.
We are now two episodes in to Lex’s stint on Supergirl and goddamnit if he is not fantastic in this role. So far he’s been pretty close to what I’ve been looking for with this character. He’s a genius, manipulative, he has his cool battle armor. It’s much more in line with the Lex Luthor we see in modern comics.
His second episode really impressed me because we saw how he had been behind (in one way or another) much what has happened on the show in the last few years. It was established early on in the series that Lex Luthor was in prison when Supergirl began. Using flashbacks, this weeks episode showed what Lex has been up to since he’d been convicted of Crimes Against Humanity. It was fantastic it showcase for John Cryer is in this role.
I’ve always been a huge Arrowverse fan, even though it’s best days are behind it in many ways. Despite my love of the Arrowverse, I’ve never really been that big of a fan of Supergirl (the series not the character). I think the series has done an excellent job with their portrayal of the character. Mellissa Benoist is great as The Girl of Steel, for some reason I find her at her most charming and entertaining in the crossover episodes. She’s a very interesting contrast to Barry Allen and especially Oliver Queen.
However, in my opinion the show really excels at using characters and stories from Superman‘s mythology. For example, they did an episode that was an adaptation for the classic Alan Moore Superman story For The Man Who Has Everything. This season also saw the introduction of Manchester Black and The Elite who were first introduced in another iconic Superman story What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way?. Even in the first season, they reveal about halfway through that one of the main characters was actually J’onn J’onnz; The Martian Manhunter. That blew my fucking mind. He’s been a fixture in the Arrowverse ever since and I love seeing him shape shift into his classic Martian form. Most of the time he appears as a human man because he’s a shape shifter and it would be way too expensive for the show to have him in full Martian Manhunter mode all the time.
I even loved how they’ve used classic Superman villains like Metallo, Parasite, White Martians and the Kryptonian villain Non, one of the general Zod’s right hand men. He is usually portrayed as muscle for General Zod, just a big, dumb, strong antagonist for Superman to fight. But he actually has a pretty tragic backstory. He was lobotomized by The Kryptonian Council as punishment for crimes he committed. There was a time that he was a mentor to Jor-El, one of Krypton‘s most brilliant scientists.
All of this has just been a very long winded way of saying how great it is to see a fantastic live action Lex Luthor. The season in general has been strong even though I have problems with some of their heavy handed attempts at making the story a real world to allegory. Despite that big flaw, there have been some very cool and exciting stories and characters being used on Supergirl that make a fan like me pay attention. I would definitely recommend going to iTunes or on-demand and checking out the last two episodes of Supergirl, the first one with Lex Luthor’s appearance is O’ Brother Where Art Thou. Cryer had a great start in that installment, but I was even more impressed with how good he is in this role in his second episode. I wouldn’t say I’m that big enough fan of Supergirl to recommend diving into the series as a whole, but I definitely think if you’re a big DC fan and you finally want to see a solid Lex Luthor, check out these episodes. I’d also recommend checking out any of the episodes where Superman makes an appearance and this year’s crossover with Arrow and The Flash: Elseworlds. While I’m on the subject of crossovers, with the most ambitious and thrilling crossover the Arrowverse has ever attempted, Crisis on Infinite Earths, debuting this fall, Lex being a major player in the Arrowverse now makes that already exciting crossover even more interesting.
With Lex seemingly not going anywhere for the rest of the season, I cannot wait to see what else the show’s writers and John Cryer do with this extremely interesting take on Lex Luthor. As always thank you for reading!
For the first two Seasons of The Flash, it was one of my top shows. I loved The Flash and The Arrowverse in general as much as shows like Game of Thrones or Netflix’s Daredevil (before you freak out, I’m not saying that The Flash, at its best, was as good as those shows. I’m just saying I enjoyed The Flash almost as much as those series). The first two Seasons are among the best live action superhero stories brought to any screen. Things started to get dicey in the 3rd Season, it wasn’t reaching the heights of what had come before. However, because the way the story in Season 3 is told, the audience doesn’t have the full picture of what’s been going on until much later in the season. Giving Season 3 a rewatch reveals a flawed, but very good/great season. Sadly, after the Season 3 finale, the show had it’s best days behind it. Season 4 sucked and Season 5 (the current season) has me barely interested in the show anymore. However, despite my waning interest, I was really looking forward to Tuesday night’s episode, “Time Bomb”, for reasons I’ll explain below. Imagine my surprise when The Flash put out it’s best episode (non-crossover) episode in a few years with this heartbreaking installment.
The over arcing story of the season revolves around, Nora Allen, Barry and Iris’s speedster daughter from roughly 30 years in the future, who has come back in time to correct a mistake she made by messing with the timeline. According to Nora, basically Team Flash has to stop a super villain called Cicada (a very dangerous man named Orlin Dwyer), which will somehow correct the timeline, and Nora will return to her own time period. I feel like this show doesn’t do a good job of explaining why Nora needs to fix the timeline in the first place. I get that a dangerous villain called Cicada has become even more dangerous due to the change in the timeline, but beyond that the plans for Nora’s return home are unclear. To me, with time travel being so dangerous in this universe the longer she stays in the past the more damage she would be doing. By hanging around with her parents decades before she was born, seems far more dangerous than stopping any villain. So I haven’t been that invested in the show until the mid season finale when they reveal that 30 years in the future Nora‘s mentor, the person who is giving her instructions on how to properly manipulate the timeline and use the Speed Force is none other than Eobard Thawne! He’s being held in a Supermax version of Iron Heights Prison In 2049 and he seems to genuinely want to help Nora. As we learn from the very first episode of the series, in Thawne’s Timevault there’s a futuristic front page hologram newspapers from the year 2024 that reads “THE FLASH VANISHES IN CRISIS“. So, Nora was a little girl who grew up without her legendary, hero father and then develops the superspeed she inherited from him. She needed a mentor to instructor her in how to use the Speed Force. In Nora’s defense, it’s clear that she didn’t understand just how much damage The Reverse-Flash had done to Barry and his life. Even though I am certain Thawne has an ulterior motive that benefits himself, he seems to truly care about Nora and almost views her as a surrogate daughter.
But time has run out, the shit has hit the fan, their plan has fallen apart. A desperate Nora runs into the future to find a despondent Thawne who says there’s nothing else they can do. Thawne tells Nora to do something that terrifies her: tell her father everything. Tell him about working with Thawne, Tell him about their attempts to change the timeline, and tell him the painful reality that she has been lying to him about working with his greatest enemy.
What really fucked up the timeline was that Dwyer’s niece, Grace, who is comatose young girl in the present. Grace, all grown up and from the future, has come back in time using the Time Sphere the Team Flash built in Season 1. Grace has become the new Cicada in her time and she plans to continue, what she saw as, her Uncle’s “Mission” to kill all meta humans. In many ways, she’s even more psychotic and dangerous than her uncle. She remarks that in her time, about 30 years from now, that meta humans have has grown at an exponential rate. Which makes sense because there are a shitload of other super heroes and super villains in the future.
Dwyer killed Metas as Cicada to protect and avenge his niece. He wanted to make the world a safer for a place for her when she comes out of her coma. He just wanted her to have a happy life. He is somewhat horrified that his beloved niece is so filled with the same hate and anger that led to him down his path to being Cicada. Grace becoming Cicada is the last thing he wants for her. So during her battle with Team Flash. Dwyer shows up, without his powers because he’s been cured, and tries to talk her down. He tells her that she needs to let go of her anger and move on. I saw this coming a mile away, but just as it looks like he might be getting through to her, she kills him with the meta dampening dagger that now belongs to her. This is where we really see just how much more of a psychopath she is compared to her uncle. As her dies in The Flash’s arms, Dwyer’s touching last words to Barry are “Save my Grace.” Even though she just murdered him, she’s the only thing he’s truly loved. Even if he’s dying all he really cares about is his niece Grace. When he asks Barry to save her I think he means save her from the path to Cicada. From one father to another, Dwyer asks Barry to save his child’s soul.
Team flash manages to track down Cicada’s next target, a woman named Vickie Bolen. Several years ago, without quite understanding how her powers worked, she accidentally blew up an ATM, seemingly killing Grace’s parents. Because at the time of the explosion meta-humans were being kept under wraps in Central City, so Bolen remarks that she takes blame for the ATM explosion but “Thanks God that no one was hurt”. She was blissfully ignorant to the fact that she’s probably the person who killed Grace’s parents. I say “probably” because who the fuck knows on a show like this sometimes. CCPD/Team Flash, which is essentially the same thing for all intents and purposes on this mission because everyone involved works for CCPD and Team Flash, realize the incident wasn’t her fault and the team insist on protecting her and her family from this very dangerous new Cicada. Bolen’s daughter was slightly injured, so they wait for the attack at Central City Hospital.
This leads to an excellent action sequence that relied on special FX, when Grace shows up to kill this woman Team Flash is protecting. Standing outside the hospital, Grace unleashes the Dagger with Barry realizing a split second before anybody that the dagger is coming, which will take away their powers and it’s headed right at the woman they’re trying to protect. In a really cool piece of special FX, everything slows way down to flash time the dagger crashes through the window of the hospital. Nora’s powers start to drain away in the presence of the dagger as she and Barry take off in the other direction to try to save Bolen. However, Barry is a little bit ahead of Nora and he’s able to get around the corner, get his Flash suit on as it blows out of his ring, and get to Bolen just before she’s about to be killed by the dagger. Nora super speeds Bolen out of there with the dagger flying behind them like a heat seeking missile close behind. Meanwhile Barry goes to face off with Grace. It was a really cool scene and I liked seeing Nora try to out run this weapon and save this woman, while Team Flash comes up with a plan to save them. It seems that lately the special Fx haven’t lived up to the amazing standard set by the show’s first three seasons. Their FX is usually great, especially for a network show. Even though I think the FX has dipped a little recently, this was a very cool action sequence.
And then we come to the end of things…. The team has saved the day, for now, and are looking to head out to grab a well deserved drink together. This is when Cecile picks up on the fact that Nora wants to tell them all something and everything from this moment on in the episode is pretty brutal.
Grant Gustin, Jessica Parker Kennedy, and Tom Cavanuogh each give Excellent performances in this episode. Stand outs include: Barry’s look of utter betrayal and horror when he finds out his daughter was working with Thawne. Nora’s opening scene with Thawne; everything they’ve risked, everything they’ve been working towards has been completely fucked. Nora’s panic and terror that the plan failed and Thawne’s crushed acceptance made for a memorable scene. Jessica Parker Kennedy knocked it out of the park throughout the entire episode; portraying the utter terror and desperation Nora feels at the prospect of her secret coming to light. Especially in the first scene with Thawne and the final scene with Sherloque, (two very different men with the same face, intense scenes that bookend the episode) she wanted to to tell her family the truth about working with Thawne, she even tried to confess to Barry a few times only to be interrupted. But she waited to long and Sherloque had finally put all the pieces together, which leads to Sherloque’s big speech telling the team how he followed the trail and solved this mystery (It’s a classic troupe of great detective stories, where the brilliant detective like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot lays out all the facts in front of the characters in the story. Sherloque is definitely more Poirot than Holmes, especially in this scene. I LOVE the “Detective Solved The Mystery And Gives His Speech About What’s Really Going On” scene in any story with a master detective. Tom Cavanough does a great job in this scene.
There were a couple of times that almost got me a little misty in this episode. Like the wires dying words and the look of a hot air but trail on Barry‘s face when he realizes that Nora and Sean are working together. The final few seconds of nor is it breaking down in one of the pipeline cells was one of the most downbeat endings to a flash episode ever. Like I said before, I don’t think the Flash has had such a strong episode in a few seasons. I look forward to watching the next episode which won’t be airing again until April where we find out the back story of how Nora and Thawne got together in the first place, but this does not mean I’m back on The Flash bandwagon. This was just one excellent episode in a sea of mediocrity over the last several years. If you’re like me and you’ve liked The Flash in the past and maybe have given up on it a little bit, watch this episode. However, It’s so well done that the episode deserved appreciation on its own merits.
Anyway, thank you so much for reading as always I appreciate it! I’d love to hear your thoughts about this episode or about The Flash in general, you can leave your comments below or send me a message on Facebook or Twitter.
2019 is going to be “The Year of Streaming Services”. For a few years now I have felt that streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are going to massively change the way we consume entertainment content, specifically films and television shows. With Warner Bros. having already thrown their hat into the ring on the increasingly solid and well done app DC Universe. The service not only offers original content like the excellent shows they’ve released so far: Titans, Young Justice: Outsiders, and one of the shows will be discussing at length on today’s podcast, Doom Patrol.
Then there’s Disney, coming out swinging later this year with Disney Plus. Which will launch with the release of an original live action Star Wars television show, The Mandalorian produced by Jon Favreau and with incredible talent like Taika Watiti, Dave Filioni, JJ Abrams and Favreau himself directing episodes. Add on to that the already announced Marvel Cinematic Universe projects that so far includes miniseries starring The Vision & Scarlett Witch, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, and a Loki prequel miniseries. Will be covering all this and more on today’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast!
So sorry about the long wait between episodes! Just had some personal stuff to deal with, but we are so psyched to be back! This week Paul Sr. and I have discussion about some excellent new shows: DOOM PATROL on DC Universe Streaming and THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY on Netflix.
We also have a wide ranging, but still very fucking fun discussion about the larger effect streaming services are having on our entertainment. As I said at the start of the article, 2019 is “The Year of The Streaming Services”. We appreciate your patience between episodes and we hope you enjoy this awesome episode! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes: