Tag Archives: Jimmy Olsen

A Supergirl S1E3 Review – Calling in the Cousin

Melissa Benoist, SupergirlBy Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

This week I stumbled across a story in USA Today about Supergirl‘s audience thus far. The article cites Nielsen statistics which say Supergirl draws a 51 percent male audience. Naturally, the other 49 percent is female. That’s huge for a superhero show. Granted, it’s not that far ahead of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which draws a 53/47 ratio, or Gotham, which does 57/43.

Long story short, Supergirl seems to be doing exactly what people hoped it would: Bringing in female viewers. Needless to say, that’s a great thing.

Now, on to this week’s episode…

Cat Grant, Kara, Supergirl, S1E3Cat Grant conducts a brief interview with Supergirl. I liked that Supergirl kept her distance from Cat here, which almost helps with my suspension of disbelief about the whole glasses disguise. Much like Superman and Clark Kent, it seems that’s one of those things fans are just going to have to live with.

The newspeg she went with was that Supergirl and Superman are cousins. I’m not sure why that’s such a big deal, quite frankly. It seems like common sense that they’d be related somehow.

Alex calls Kara out about liking Jimmy Olsen. At the risk of coming off like Jeb “Supergirl is pretty hot” Bush, Melissa Benoist’s awkward giggle is adorable. There’s that girl-next-door appeal we’ve talked about.

Winn sets up a secret office for Supergirl-related activities in the office. I call BS on this one. In an office full of reporters, nobody notices all that tech is there? And nobody ever goes into that room? C’mon, now.

Supergirl, ReactronReactron makes Supergirl a pawn in his quest for vengeance against Superman. Reactron came off pretty well in this episode. The suit looked cool, and Chris Browning did a hell of a job when the mask was off. I’d love to see more of Reactron as the series progresses.

Superman saves Kara in her second fight with Reactron. Thus far, we’re striking a very delicate balance with Superman’s presence on this show. He’s obviously impacting the proceedings, and in this episode Winn even found out the Clark Kent secret. But we’ve never seen his face, and he has yet to actually become a full-fledged character on the show. So where do you draw the line? He saved Kara in the episode, and apparently they can instant message. But can she somehow talk to him on camera? Will they ever team up somehow?

We get our first look inside Maxwell Lord’s tech empire. It must be nice having people call you “Mr. Lord.” The guy already has a huge ego, but they you throw that in…

Lucy Lane, Supergirl, S1E3Lucy Lane, Jimmy Olson’s ex, appears on the show, played by Jenna Dewan-Tatum. Lucy Lane, Lois’ sister, tends to complicate things when she shows up. In the comics she did indeed date Jimmy Olsen, and for a time was actually the unstable Superwoman. In Lois and Clark, she dated John Corben before he became Metallo.

I expect more of the same here, especially with her coming between this odd Kara/Jimmy romance. I buy Jimmy more as Kara’s big brother than her love interest. Hopefully they’ll give this a little more time to develop, so it actually has some meat to it.

Image 1 from designtrend.com. Image 2 from superherohype.com. Images 3 and 4 from comicbook.com.

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A Supergirl, S1E2 Review – Fighting Like A Girl

Supergirl, Melissa Benoist, Episode 2By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Supergirl kept most of its momentum going this week, and we even got a surprising confrontation that could very well have been saved for the season finale. All in all, a fairly strong episode.

There are still some bothersome ticks hanging on from last week’s pilot episode. For instance, Melissa Benoist still needs to work on conveying exertion when she’s lifting something heavy. Right now it just sounds like an empty scream.

On the flip side, I like that they have Melissa bending her knees before she takes off. It makes the whole flying thing see a little more believable. Of all things, it’s actually reminiscent of the old Max Fleischer cartoons.

But all in all, we upped the intrigue in this episode, and that’s exactly what they needed to do here.

Calista Flockhart, Supergirl, Season 2, episode 2Cat Grant wants a one-on-one interview with Supergirl. I expected this. The Superman/Lois Lane interview is something a lot of people remember from Superman: The Movie. So it makes sense to do it here.

It’s irritating that they keep softening the focus when they do a close-up on Calista. That’s a trick sometimes done in TV to hide the wrinkles on an actor’s face. I really wish they wouldn’t do that, especially on a show that’s deemed as feminist as Supergirl. I don’t think Calista’s age is a secret. So what’s the big deal?

James Olsen advises Kara about doing an interview with Cat Grant, talks about the glasses disguise. The lack of practicality in the glasses disguise is something that plagues the Superman mythos to this day, and it’s going to plague Supergirl. The line about Cat “not really looking” at Kara is BS. At least people are used to suspending their disbelief about it.

So, are we moving toward a romance between Jimmy (He’s not James. He’s Jimmy.) and Kara? I’m not sure how I feel about that. But the exchanges they had in this episode were good. The line about Jimmy moving to National City (*gag*) to become his own man was endearing, as was Kara’s response about it being an honor to be part of a team.

Alex, Supergirl, Season 1, Episode 2At the urging of Hank Henshaw, Alex exposes Kara’s weakness at fighting. I like when they do stuff like this with the Superman characters. It makes sense, and it made for some nice scenes between Kara and Alex. Granted, it also made for some hokey dialogue (What was that about hiding from the popcorn popper?). But it got us a little more invested in Alex, which is obviously important.

Kara faces off against her aunt, Alura’s twin sister Astra. This was a surprise. The reveal and the subsequent fight could have been the midseason finale, or even the season finale. Obviously they’ll fight again, though. When they do, they need to work on not making it look like the girls are on wires. I’m sure that’s not easy. But something like that can take you right out of the show.

Peter Facinelli makes his first appearance as Maxwell Lord. In the DCU, Maxwell Lord has been both a heartless villain and a ruthless businessman of sorts. I’m definitely interested to see what kind of Max we get here.

Kara is reunited with her mother Alura via interactive hologram. I believe this practice is what they call “Brando-ing.”

Images from CBS.com.

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A Supergirl S1E1 Review – Keep It Simple, Supergirl

Supergirl, CBS, posterBy Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

***WARNING: Spoilers lay ahead for the pilot episode of Supergirl.***

People are understandably excited about Supergirl. In essence, the character is getting the same treatment Green Arrow and The Flash are getting on The CW. This isn’t a prequel like Smallville or Gotham (Blech). This is Supergirl, flights and tights, in all her glory. On a major network, no less.

The pilot episode of Supergirl is charming in its simplicity. It lays everything out with fairly broad strokes, which is fine for now. We have our hero, her supporting cast, a place for villains to come from, and our big bad for the season. There’s a lot of ground to explore, and they’ve got a whole season to do it.

So let’s do what we love to do around here: Pick stuff apart…

Melissa Benoist plays Kara Zor El, a.k.a. Supergirl. This was great casting. Benoist has fantastic girl next-door appeal, and seems like she was somehow custom-built to be a TV star. It seemed like she was set for stardom on Glee before that show took an even bigger nosedive in quality. Either way, she makes a fantastic Supergirl. She’ll obviously need some time to break into the role and truly make it her own, as most actors do. But give her enough time, and she’ll pull it off.

Supergirl, pilot, Melissa BenoistSupergirl is widely being heralded as a feminist TV show, and a celebration of girl power. As a male fan, I’m not threatened or dissuaded by that at all. Despite all the superhero movies that have come out in the last two decades, we have yet to see one dedicated to Wonder Woman, Black Widow, or any other female hero. If Supergirl is successful, it could open some doors in that respect, and bring in new fans.

Calista Flockhart plays Cat Grant, head of CatCo Worldwide. Cat Grant was almost one-dimensional in how she was written here. Granted, this is only the pilot. At certain points in the comic books, the character had some nice depth that I’d love to see explored here. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make her a villain. Several years ago during Sterling Gates’ run on Supergirl, Cat was essentially made the J. Jonah Jameson to Kara’s Spider-Man. Using The Daily Planet as an outlet, Cat was able to turn much of Metropolis against the Girl of Steel. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to imagine that happening on this show.

Incidentally, I loved her little rant about the word “girl.” That was really well written.

Supergirl, Hank HenshawKara becomes aligned with her sister Alex, Hank Henshaw, and the Department of Extranormal Operations to face fugitives from a Kryptonian prison. This seems like a cue from Arrow and The Flash. On those shows, both heroes have a team around them that helps them with logistics and what not. It makes sense, at least as far as the first season is concerned. The Fort Rozz angle is also very similar to what we’ve seen on The Flash. On that show, the same freak accident that gave Barry Allen his speed also created various metahumans. On Supergirl, the arrival of Kara’s shuttle accidentally released various prisoners from the Phantom Zone. This begs the question of why those prisoners are only surfacing now. But again, it’s only the pilot.

Also, in the DC Comics Universe, Hank Henshaw is the evil Cyborg Superman. Just throwing that out there.

Kara works alongside Winn Schott, who she later reveals her secret to. On the subject of supervillains, in the DCU, Winslow Schott is one of the incarnations of the villainous Toyman. Perhaps unrequited love drives Schott to madness?

Kara Zor El, Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl, CBSWhile Superman’s presence is felt, he is never fully seen on camera. I was excited when I heard how Superman would be dealt with on this show. Essentially, it’s the same way Veep deals with the President of the United States. The character’s influence is felt on the show, but we never see him. I’m pleased they didn’t do anything stupid to Superman, like kill him or banish him to the Phantom Zone. But this episode leaves me wondering why Kara doesn’t have more of a direct relationship with her cousin. You’d think he’s be the one person she’d want to talk to about superheroics and what not.

From a creative standpoint, the reason for keeping Superman out of the show is obvious: He draws attention away from Supergirl. But I’d like to see some reason given as to why she can apparently only communicate with him through other people.

Image 2 from youtube.com. Image 3 from moviepilot.com. Image 4 from cinemablend.com.

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A Superman #44 Review – Talking Truth

Superman #44 cover, John Romita Jr. TITLE: Superman #33
AUTHOR: Gene Luen Yang
PENCILLER: John Romita Jr.
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: September 30, 2015

***Missed last issue? BOOM. We’ve got you covered.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Superman #44 is an okay issue which would have been much more compelling had it been released three or four months ago.

Before we get into the issue, let’s talk about this the Truth storyline as a whole. Readers of the Superman books know it’s run through not only this title, but Action Comics, Superman/Wonder Woman and Batman/Superman. It’s been touched on in other books, but those are the main four. Beginning in June, DC opted to use Superman to tell us how and why a de-powered Clark Kent’s identity was revealed to the world. All the while, stories of the de-powered, t-shirt wearing, “Tough Guy Superman” were already being told in the other three titles. As such, we saw this new Superman heavily effected by events we hadn’t seen yet. We could sympathize with what Clark was going through, and the stories were entertaining and compelling in their own right. But they lacked a certain depth because we couldn’t see the whole picture yet (We still can’t.).

Superman #44, alternate coverAt this point, it’s pretty safe to say this release strategy was a mistake, and it watered down something that could have been much more interesting otherwise. This is actually one of the few times I would have preferred a mass crossover. This issue marks the end of the Before Truth story, which has lasted four issues. As such it would have been simple to use all four Superman books to tell this story during the month of June. That way, the story has four straight weeks to build to a crescendo. In addition, not only do you have Gene Luen Yang and John Romita Jr. lending their talents to this pivotal story, but you have Peter Tomasi, Doug Mahnke, Ardian Syaf, and everyone else currently under the Man of Steel’s creative umbrella.

What a wasted opportunity…

With all that in mind, let’s get into Superman #44. Clark’s identity is public, and he’s not the only one in jeopardy. When The Daily Planet is targeted by supervillains, the Man of Steel must use what power he has left to defend his friends and colleagues. It’s a great premise, but the execution is surprisingly stupid.

Surprisingly, our hero starts this issue looking pretty stupid. Lois Lane has revealed to the world that Clark Kent and Superman are the same person. Yet when we open the issue, we see him strolling down the street as Clark, as if this were just an ordinary day. The Royal Flush Gang is able to identify and ambush him on sight! It’s not like Clark is incapable of being stealthy. He can fly and run at super-speed! At the very least, you’d think he’d pick a new disguise! But nope. Our main character, ladies and gentlemen. He’s sticking with an alter-ego that’s been discredited in front of the world.

Superman #44, Killer Croc, John Romita Jr.The villains who attack The Daily Planet are an odd assortment: Livewire, Atomic Skull, Killer Frost, Shockwave, and for no particular reason, Killer Croc. The choice to put Croc in there is a puzzling one. The question of why a Batman villain is put into such an important Superman story seemingly at random actually distracts from the scene. Furthermore, he’s rather redundant. He’s just another slab of muscle and mass for Superman to kick around.

About halfway through the issue, something interesting and mildly sensible finally happens: Clark finds out that a former Planet acquaintance of has taken Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, and some of his other colleagues hostage. Due to the destruction caused by one of Superman’s enemies, this impromptu villain lost his wife and his livelihood. Now that Clark’s identity is exposed, he’s taking the fight to him. Now this is an interesting idea, and really should have taken up the first half of the issue. The stuff with the Royal Flush Gang, Killer Croc and the others feels like it’s there because they felt the need to fill a supervillain quota. But in the end, simply putting there so Clark can punch them comes off clumsy and forced.

During the fight, Perry White takes a bullet, and we subsequently get to hear his side of things. Understandable, he’s rather perturbed. This scene only lasts a page, making it yet another lost opportunity in the Truth saga. This scene actually reminded me of something Marvel released in the wake of Spider-Man revealing his identity in Civil War. It was an editorial by J. Jonah Jameson, who’s called Spider-Man a menace for years, only to discover that he’s been on the Daily Bugle staff the whole time. Jameson apologizes to his readers, and vows to win back their trust. Perry obviously never had that kind of contempt for Clark. But this revelation makes Perry, and everyone at the Planet look like oblivious fools. There’s a real argument to be made that the paper’s credibility has been compromised. It’d be fascinating to see that angle explored. So naturally, I assume it’ll be left untouched…

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #6Toward the end of the issue, there’s an incredibly stupid moment where Clark cuts his hair with a diamond. You know, because he’s Superman and he’s got really strong tissue. This isn’t a new idea (as you’ll see on the left), but I’ve always rejected it, and others along the same line.

There’s still some potential left in the Superman: Truth story as a whole. But it’s been so mismanaged that at this point that it’s inescapably tarnished. At this point, those of us who are sticking around can only hope for better things ahead now that the backstory of Superman’s “outing” has been revealed.

Image 2 from weirdsciencedccomicsblog.blogspot.com. Image 3 from comicbookresources.com.

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A Superman: The Men of Tomorrow Review – So Much to Do, So Little Time

Superman: Men of Tomorrow coverTITLE: Superman: The Men of Tomorrow

AUTHOR: Geoff Johns
PENCILLER: John Romita, Jr.
COLLECTS: Superman #32-39
FORMAT: Hardcover

PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $24.99

RELEASED: August 19, 2015

By Levi Sweeney
Staff Writer, Grand X

This is a Superman story that I had fairly high hopes for. Considering how the Superman title has been doing for the entirety of the New 52, almost anything could have made it better. Geoff Johns did a fantastic job on Superman: Secret Origin, so this collection virtually guaranteed to kick the Man of Steel back into gear.

Sadly, that didn’t happen.

Superman: The Men of Tomorrow takes a rather interesting premise and plays it well for a little bit  before the whole thing crashes and burns halfway through. It starts with Superman encountering a blond-haired, super-powered ubermensch named Ulysses, a.k.a. Neil. He helps Supes take out a robot baddie, and soon they’re fast friends.

Superman #36, John Romita Jr. Neil was sent to an alternate universe by his Earth-bound scientist parents who believed that the world was about to be destroyed. Neil has now returned to Earth, apparently having sojourned in “Dimension 4” as a superhero in his own right. But all is not as it seems…

I honestly was psyched when we first got to know Neil. He looks all the world like a recreation of Jean Paul Valley, a.k.a. Azrael. I love that guy! He acts like him, has similar speech patterns, and even has the same long blond hair! Add the fish-out-of-water gags that he gets into briefly, and you could potentially have a funny, entertaining story.

Unfortunately for Neil, Johns takes more pages from Knightfall‘s book that I would have liked. In addition to casting a similar character in a Superman-doppleganger role, Johns tries to spin Neil as a maniacal killer. I don’t buy it at all. There’s no foreshadowing whatsoever that Neil was plotting and planning to stab Superman, and plenty to suggest the exact opposite. Neil’s character development was going one specific direction the whole time, and then it turned around in a way that makes absolutely no sense given the established context.

Superman: The Men of Tomorrow, John Romita Jr. Superman himself is portrayed decently, in that he generally isn’t a total douchebag like he’s been depicted in the New 52. He actually treats Neil like a human being, unlike a certain billionaire playboy in a Batsuit treated a certain other mentally ill protege. He even goes so far as to visit him in jail! They have an interesting dynamic, in that Superman is (temporarily) partnered with someone who is very much his equal in terms of powers and skills.

One thing Johns gets right is how he manages to reset the Superman status quo. Clark had quit The Daily Planet to become a blogger alongside Cat Grant. In roughly six pages, Johns gets everything back to business-as-usual. There’s even the added bonus of Clark revealing a certain secretto Jimmy Olsen in the final issue. I would have loved to see Johns’ take on New 52 Lex Luthor, but I guess you can’t have it all.

The core problem with Men of Tomorrow is that it’s too big for its own good. We’re talking alternate dimensions, a Superman doppleganger with a messiah complex, an alien race bent on wholesale slaughter, and Alfred attempting to iron Superman’s cape. This is the sort of story that ought to be part of a crisis crossover, or at least a 12-issue miniseries. Plus, the story is just plain confusing.

Superman: The Men of Tomorrow, Superman vs. UlyssesTo the regret of everyone involved, Johns does not succeed in writing a story that is fitting for his allowed run. It could have been great, but Johns failed to capitalize on Neil’s strong potential as a character, all exacerbated by an overstuffed plot. Superman stories are usually big in scale. But Johns has proven on Green Lantern, Aquaman, and even Superman: Secret Origin that he’s perfectly capable of making small feel big.

RATING: 6/10

Image 1 from comicbookresources.com. Image 2 from dangermart.blogspot.com. Image 3 from comicvine.com.

A Divergence #1 Review – The New Batman, a New Era for Superman, and More Mobius

Divergence #1 (2015)TITLE: Divergence #1
AUTHORS: Scott Snyder, Gene Luen Yang, Geoff Johns.
PENCILLERS: Greg Capullo, John Romita Jr., Jason Fabok.
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: Free Comic Book Day Release
RELEASED: May 2, 2015

By Levi Sweeney
Staff Writer, Grand X

This year, we actually got something nice from DC for Free Comic Book Day. Not only do we have three talented writers matched with three equally talented artists, but the three mini-stories we’re given are actually pretty amazing! Snyder, Yang, and Johns are all in top form today, and if these stories are any indication of what’s to come post-Convergence, then I think I might just take a look.

Divergence #1 seeks to set up the new status quo for Batman, Superman, and the Justice League after Convergence. Batman gets top billing, as he often does these days. In “The Rookie”, Gotham City without Batman has thankfully not descended into chaos and fire following the events of Batman #40. It’s actually pretty refreshing to see Gotham at peace for once, though the narrating TV reporter speaks of unhealed wounds. Indeed, Capullo treats us to a beautiful splash page of a crowd of Gothamites shining miniature Bat Signals in the sky, looking positively sullen.

Batman, Divergence, Greg CapulloBut all hope is not lost! The Hillary Clinton-esque Geri Powers appears to reassure the citizens of Gotham City that a new Batman is about to be born. Who’s behind the cowl this time? I think I’ll leave that for you readers to find out for yourselves. But I’ll tell you this: It’s equal parts astounding and amusing. It was also nice to see the seeming end of Batman through the point-of-view of the ordinary, mundane folks like the reporters and cops. The inner circle of the Bat-family is nowhere in sight, except for the new “Batman.”

In “Exposed,” we’re introduced to Gene Luen Yang’s take on Superman. We start with Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen chatting sometime after Clark’s had his secret identity outed by Lois Lane. To top it all off, he’s operating with weakened powers. In my opinion, Superman has behaved in pretty much every single New 52 appearance as an irrepressible jerkhat. This includes Geoff Johns’ run on Justice League, which features Superman and his fellow heroes engaging in petulant bickering while, you know, saving the world.

Divergence #1, Superman, John Romita Jr. So Superman here is kind of a jerk, understandably so. But he then beats up this super-strong thug who tries to kill him and some innocent bystanders. At least he tried to avoid the fight, and he actually saved some people. Jimmy Olsen then plasters pictures of the fight all over social media, and excrement hits the fan for the Man of Steel. He then tells off Lois Lane when she tries to help him.

I like Yang’s story, but I don’t like his Superman. Yang’s a talented writer, but I wish the people at DC would get over themselves and get the message that their heroes don’t all have to be jerks. Superman is one such hero, and he’s a good place to start. At the very least, the story was still pretty fun. Yang’s writing style is free of any grim-and-gritty pretentions, a theme reinforced by the bright, easy-lined artwork of John Romita Jr.

And that brings us to the final story in this issue: “The Other Amazon.” Fittingly enough, this story by Geoff Johns focuses primarily on the lore of Wonder Woman, using it to highlight the origin of The Anti-Monitor, a.k.a. Mobius. The long and short of it is that this rogue Amazon named Myrina gives birth to Mobius, whose father is revealed to us at the end, and we get a preview of Darkseid War. She will apparently be a major player in this latest hullaballoo. I really hope that this will end up being a feather in Wonder Woman’s cap. From what we see here, it certainly looks likes it will be the case.

Divergence #1, Wonder Woman, Jason FabokThe mini-story itself does its job well. It gives us a window into what’s going on in Darkseid War, and makes you want to check it out. It actually looks pretty epic! On the other hand, I’m beginning to get fed up with these Geoff Johns-led super-mega-events. First there was Blackest Night, and then Flashpoint, Trinity War, Forever Evil, etc. I mean really, when will it end? At least Jason Fabok’s art was nice. It manages to be bright and flashy even when most of the background is dark brownish and grayish.

On the whole, this Free Comic Book Day issue was by no means of low quality. DC really invested a lot into this issue, bringing in some real heavy hitters, and boy, did they hit hard. Divergence #1 gave us three engaging, entertaining stories with lovely artwork and solid writing. This is a far cry from last year’s Free Comic Book Day issue, where they just reprinted the origin of Chris Kent. That was just lazy.

Fortunately, Divergence #1 is anything but.

Image 1 from dreamwidth.org. Image 2 from weirdsciencedccomicsblog.wordpress.com. Image 3 from bleedingcool.com.

Follow Levi Sweeney on Twitter @levi_sweeney, or at his blog, The Stuff of Legend.

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