Category Archives: count vertigo

Arrow S02 E06: "Keep Your Enemies Closer"

At last, we’re going to find out where Oliver got his Russian mob cred, and where he got that Bratva tattoo, as the crew takes a trip to Russia. Almost sounds like an “I Love Lucy” episode, doesn’t it? Just not as funny.

In our opening sequence, after some Lucy style secret identity shenanigans with Summer Glau’s Isabel Rochev, Arrow and his sidekick, um, snitch, um, sidekick, Roy Harper bust up some counterfeiters in short order. In the midst of it, and here’s where it gets good, Diggle gets kidnapped.

Diggle gets kidnapped by dudes namedropping Task Force X, the Suicide Squad’s official codename, and answering to Mockingbird, who gave orders to the Secret Six in the comics. When he comes to, he is confronted by, da da da dum, a very svelte looking Amanda Waller, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who you might remember as Naevia from “Spartacus,” which also starred our Deathstroke, Manu Bennett.

Waller, who Diggle identifies as being with ARGUS, tells him that Lyla has vanished after following up some leads in Russia. Specifically Lyla was tracking Deadshot for Diggle. Waller, who also knows what Diggle and Oliver Queen do with their nights, wants Lyla extracted. So much for sightseeing in Russia, it sounds like it’s all business.

Back on flashback island, or more accurately, the Amazo boat, Professor Ivo interrogates Oliver with Sarah present. It seems that the island was where a Japanese World War II secret super soldier formula is, and Ivo’s looking for it. The formula, that gifts super strength and enhanced regeneration, is called Mirakuru – miracle.

Or is that Miraclo? With the recent announcement of an Hourman series possibly in development, I can’t help but wonder if The Flash isn’t the only back door pilot being prepped here… For those who don’t know your Golden Age comic lore, Miraclo is the drug that Hourman takes to gain super strength, super stamina, and yes, even regenerative abilities for one hour.

Dylan Neal’s dad next door portrayal of Anthony Ivo is extremely creepy when you think about this guy was up to in the comics, and what he’s probably up to here. There is just this very scary chord of quiet menace in his performance. Factoid: Neal played a character ironically linked to Amanda Waller back on the CW’s “Smallville.” And could the sadistic Captain of the Amazo… be the future Amazo??

Back in the present, Wendy and Marvin, ahem, I mean Isabel insists on tagging along to Russia with the Arrowcave trio. It’s like a sitcom setup almost, and infuriating. They have to avoid Isabel while trying to find Lyla and Deadshot. Let me tell you, this does not make Summer Glau any more likable or tolerable. She is even less likable drunk, and downright hatable as a one night stand.

We do get the goods on how Oliver is a Bratva captain. Anatoli Knyazev, known as the KGBeast in the comics, was his prison mate on the Amazo boat. Oliver saved his life, and was rewarded with tattoo and rank. Anatoli helps them find Lyla and Deadshot, beginning Diggle’s brief prison movie inside the show. In the end, everyone gets saved, but Diggle can’t kill Deadshot.

However Diggle does learn who hired Deadshot to kill his brother. In a reveal that may bring some loose ends full circle to a knot, Deadshot says he was hired by H.I.V.E. Not in the comics, but in the “Teen Titans” cartoon, the H.I.V.E. was run by a guy called Brother Blood. Da da dum.

On the subplot track, Jean Loring makes her third appearance as Moira Queen’s attorney. This is the first time however I was aware of her name. This is Jean Loring?? I was very surprised. Teryl Rothery is a beautiful but older woman, but based on the character’s previous mention (‘Ray and Jean’), I would have assumed she was younger, much younger, a contemporary, a peer, of Laurel and Oliver. Let’s just hope she’s not being paid in white dwarfs or black diamonds…

The Blood Rush mini-adventure starring Felicity and Roy, and sponsored by Bose, is dumb. There I said it. It’s out of continuity, confusing, and dumb. Just give the actors more screen time in the real show and give the audience a real Bose commercial. Otherwise, this is a waste of time.

Speaking of dumb and waste of time, it seems that Felicity is being groomed for the role of Oliver’s romantic interest, or worse than that, his fawning crush. She tells him he deserves better, regarding Isabel. I’d like to tell the producers that Felicity deserves better than this kind of crap. Come on. Make Felicity a strong female character on television, not another one of Oliver’s failed attempts at a relationship.


Next week: The return of (The) Count (and) Vertigo!

Advertisements

Arrow S02 E02: "Identity"

The winds of change from the last episode sweep in in the first seconds of this one, as Oliver Queen’s opening narrative has changed. No longer a killer, striving to be a hero, yet still unnamed, even without a name (Oliver swore off The Hood monicker last time), this is a change for the better.

Our secondary opening has Roy Harper, in his red hoodie, driving a red car (nice, but when’s he going to get a red costume and red arrows?), trying to save a FEMA truck from China White. He’s really not good at this vigilante stuff, Roy should get a… mentor, or something…

Laurel questions him once he gets hauled to the police station. She seems to have developed her father’s fixation on capturing The Hood, at all costs. She also scoffs at Roy’s mention of a certain Black Canary-like vigilante. If “Smallville” has taught us fanboys anything, it’s that the rules change in the jump from comics to TV. While I doubt it, there is a chance that Laurel Lance is not the Black Canary.

Maybe he’s not Brother Blood yet, as I posited last time, but Alderman Sebastian Blood, defender of The Glades, certainly is a thorn in Oliver’s side. Perhaps this will lead to our hero running for mayor as he did in the comics?

Green arrows, red arrows, black canaries, and brothers blood, that’s all good, but that’s not the big comics surprise in this episode. That would be the Bronze Tiger, played by Michael Jai White (“Black Dynamite” and Spawn). Here, he’s China White’s new partner, but in the comics, he was a member of the League of Assassins, and served in the Suicide Squad, ironically alongside Deadshot and Count Vertigo. More Wolverine than Bronze Tiger, he’s still bad ass.

There were many things I didn’t like. Laurel is annoying in hunter mode. If she is the Black Canary, I hope she’s not mining this personality. Thea is not making a believable grown-up, no matter how adult her dresses are. And I prefer Felicity as nerd girl rather than pretty whiner. Is she shopping at the same fashion designer as Thea?

There was a nice namedrop for writer Jeff Lemire this episode. I also loved the use of the first trick arrows – the electric arrow and the handcuff arrow. Can the Arrowcar and the boxing glove arrow be far behind? Next week, we get the resolution to our juicy cliffhanger, the Dollmaker, and the Canary uncaged…

Arrow: Unfinished Business

We begin with a girl dancing and dying in traffic, drugged up on a new version of Vertigo. This results in visits to see The Count in the asylum, by both The Hood and Detective Lance. For the second episode in a row, the Joker parallels are there. The Count is obsessed with Arrow, and more focused in his presence. While Starling City is under siege from this new Vertigo, yeah, you guessed it, The Count escapes.

While Arrow pursues The Count, Diggle is still looking for Deadshot, the villain who killed his brother way back when. He gives all info that Felicity found on him to an old friend named Lyla, who now runs with an outfit called Argus. Comic readers will recognize the name. A.R.G.U.S. is the organization that manages the Justice League, and does all their gruntwork, as well as their PR.

Tommy has problems of his own. Lance thinks there’s a connection between Verdant and the dead girl who died from Vertigo, and starts to investigate the club. He finds a suspicious $10,000 missing in its records. At first I’m thinking, wait, the ‘Arrowcave’ only cost ten grand??

It turns out however that the cash was used to pay off a corrupt building inspector. Lance wants to see the sub-level to the club now, and has brought a search warrant. In what should have been some clever switch, we merely get some rearranged furniture and crates. It’s still not clear who packed up the Arrowcave – Oliver, because he inexplicably knew Lance was coming, or Tommy because he was afraid of what Oliver might do. This best friends one minute, assailant/victim thing the next is getting old.

Speaking of supporting cast, Felicity is not as much fun now that she is in on the secret. Rather than an actual player in the show, she’s become simply an errand girl. Find this, do this, she may as well have “Yes, sir, no, sir.” as her only lines. I want the old Felicity back. And as long as we’re talking about the women in Oliver’s life, on the island, Shado starts training him finally.

In the end, the Vertigo is tracked back to the asylum. Another Joker reference emerges. How many years did the Joker operate out of Arkham, his own headquarters beneath the mental hospital itself? But it’s not The Count doing the dirty work, but his doctor and intern. Once they have been dispatched, Oliver mercifully does not take out the apparently insane Count.

This is just like the Carl moment in this past week’s season finale of “The Walking Dead.” Carl kills a surrendering kid, not for what he had done, but for what he might do in the future. Will Oliver live to regret not killing The Count, or should he have Carl-ed him?

Arrow: Salvation

Oliver may need to step aside. It seems there a new vigilante in Starling City who calls himself The Savior, and he’s got his own list he’s checking names off of. In a present day twist on the Joker’s old MO, he announces (and commits) his crimes via every cellphone (almost Sherlock-ian) in the city. Apparently, he’s a department of transportation worker by day, but has some fighting and computer skills as a vigilante at night. I wonder what island he was stranded on?

The catch? Roy Harper is on the Savior’s list, and he nabs him right in the middle of one of Roy and Thea’s annoying anti-flirtations. From what we’ve seen of Roy so far, and what we know of his possible future, I can’t imagine how the Savior got the drop on him. So of course we get to see Oliver in another race against time. Ho-hum.

Oliver does some crazy almost bionic style jumps in this episode, as well as some insane parkour. Man, Deathstroke must have taught him well. Stephen Amell’s chest also makes a return as a cast member. The huge gay audience that I recently learned “Arrow” has will be pleased by that news.

The subplots roll on. Moira and Frank (Chen, not Bertinelli) continue to plot against Malcolm, with mixed results. Laurel and her folks continue to search for the thought dead Sarah, though also not with the results expected. On the island, Shado and Yao Fei join Oliver and Slade’s resistance.

Alex Kingston as Dinah Lance has the best line of the episode, “Got to get going to airport, that red eye to Central City. I should be home in a flash.” Love it! More, please.

Next episode, Count Verti-, ahem, I mean The Count returns. Same Arrow time, same Arrow channel…

Arrow: Vertigo

Back in the day, let’s say the 1950s, back when Green Arrow was literally Batman with a bow, he had a serious rogues gallery. There were a multitude of bizarre criminals who menaced Star City on a regular basis. True, most of them spun on the unoriginal twist of using some sort of bow and arrow motif, but Green Arrow and Speedy had lots of enemies.

The 1970s came along, Speedy got hooked on heroin and left his mentor, Green Arrow, who had changed his costume and facial hair to a more modern look, and turned his aim on social issues rather than super-villains. By the end of the decade however, things had come full circle, and costumed criminals came back in vogue. The powers that be decided Green Arrow needed a rogues gallery, albeit a more believable one, without the mandatory bow and arrow.

Enter Count Vertigo. With a name like Werner Vertigo, what else could he become but a super-villain, right? The Count part comes from being the last member of the royal family of Vlatava, so he has the resources of a small eastern European nation behind him. Afflicted with a balance problem he had a device implanted in his head that prevented vertigo. After years of tinkering with it he found he could affect the balance of others, causing dizziness, and yes, I’ll say it, vertigo. He can also fly. No idea how he does that though.

Merlyn the Magician may the king of super-villains who use bows and arrows, and Green Arrow’s natural opposite number, but when most folks think of the emerald archer’s archenemy on the scale of a Joker or a Luthor, they think Count Vertigo.

But that’s the comics, on the “Arrow” TV series, things are a bit different. Vertigo is a new drug, one that got Oliver’s little sister in a car accident, and arrested in but one of last week‘s cliffhangers. And the drug lord pushing vertigo onto the streets is called The Count.

The hot button comics reference this episode is Thea’s middle name – Dearden. Not only is her nickname Speedy, but in the comics, Mia Dearden is the young girl who was the second person to take on the Speedy identity as Green Arrow’s sidekick. Is this homage or foreshadowing?

The Count, as played by Seth Gabel of “Fringe,” is very manic, theatrical, and dangerous in that mad villain unpredictable way. Brilliant casting, and great costuming, I kinda got a Captain John Hart vibe as well.

Nice to see the writers haven’t forgotten Oliver’s Russian Bratva connection, I just hope that they don’t forget to explain it. It’s also good to see The Count has not lost his Eastern European origins as well. I also like the explanation of his name. Nice touch. And the color of the drug itself? It’s green, like Count Vertigo’s color scheme in the comics.

Detective Quentin Lance’s outrageous grudge against Oliver is getting old, and kind of silly too. I do however like the cast addition of Janina Gavankar from “True Blood” as Detective McKenna Hall. With Laurel tied up with Tommy, Oliver needs a good potential romantic interest. Please don’t bring back the Huntress.

The Count is taken down, of course, but with the possibility of a return, and possibly more like the comics version next time. We’ll see. He reminded me a bit of Mark Hamill’s turn as the Trickster on the old “Flash” series on CBS. Maybe we will get powers and costumes next time.

In this week’s island flashback, we learn more about Yao Fei, Ed Fyers, Deathstroke and the terrorists there. We also see a slick trick make folks look dead. Don’t try this at home, kids. We also see, much too briefly, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak with some bad news for Oliver. But I’m sure we’ll get more of that next week, and hopefully more Felicity as well.

Arrow: Trust But Verify

I have to say, I am starting to like the episode titles with dual meanings. They never quite mean what we think they mean, and revelation doesn’t come until the very end. Nice.

Weird. This is the first episode where Oliver and Tommy actually act like they are, or once were, best friends. It was nice. I guess the employer/employee dynamic suits them.

The plot of the week has armored truck robbers using tactics from the Afghan War. Turns out the guy behind it is not only Diggle’s old mentor, but he’s also on ‘the list.’ Diggle didn’t know that last part. I was surprised. I thought Oliver trusted Diggle. It’s been quite a while now – you mean in all that time Diggle’s never seen ‘the list’? I find that implausible.

Nice shout out for the Arrowcave, and also an interesting name for the baddies’ security firm – Blackhawk. The Arrowcave is a call back to the Golden Age and Silver Age of comics where Green Arrow was simply a Robin Hood knock-off of Batman, essentially Batman with a bow. He was a millionaire with a ward sidekick, he had the Arrowplane (which doubled as the Arrowcar), and of course, his headquarters was the Arrowcave – honestly not much different from his current basement below the nightclub.

The Blackhawks were an international team of pilots during World War II who fought against the Axis under the command of the man called Blackhawk. Later they became soldiers of fortune, adventurers, superheroes, and mercenaries. I love the Blackhawks, you can read more about that, and them here. However, on “Arrow,” the Blackhawks are just armored truck robbers. Sigh. These are bad days for the name Blackhawk.

Speaking of DC Comics characters, it’s always nice to see Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, and sad to see she’s become a nerd girl with glasses and a crush on our hero. What a waste. So much potential, so little effort.

I’m starting to zone out on the soap opera aspects of the show. I don’t care about Thea worrying Mom is having an affair, or if Tommy makes up with Daddy Merlyn. This kind of crap is why I stayed away from “Smallville” for so long. I don’t know about you folks, but I watch superhero shows for the superheroes, not the soap.

The episode ends in disappointment, and a tempting cliffhanger. Where last time Oliver needed to do something and was robbed if his chance, this time it’s Diggle’s turn. Two weeks in a row of this and I’m about to throw in the towel. The cliffhanger keeps me though. Not only is Yao Fei not who we thought he was, but there’s a drug in The Glades called Vertigo… could it be…? Finally Count Vertigo?