Category Archives: marv wolfman

Arrow: Betrayal

“Arrow” is at a point now where you need a score card to know what’s what and who’s who. I’m not sure that’s a place this show should be at right now. I’m sure there’s a core audience, but despite the handy elevator pitch origin story in the opening of every episode, I’m not sure that any new viewers wouldn’t be hopelessly lost. No matter how you slice it, even I was having trouble keeping all the balls in the air at the beginning of “Betrayal.”

Oliver confronts his mom about the notebook full of names that he got from Felicity last episode. She throws it in the fireplace, suggesting the only way the family can heal is to stop asking questions. Diggle tails her throughout the episode, discovering some nasty secrets. When Oliver confronts her later as Arrow, heh, well, that’s this episode’s cliffhanger.

In the main story this episode, Cyrus Vanch, former muckety-muck of the Starling City underworld has been released from prison, Iron Heights specifically – nice shout out to the comics. He wants what’s his back, as well as the Triad’s and the Bertinelli family’s (I guess that means we haven’t seen the last of China White or the Huntress). And he also wants Arrow out of the way. Using his contacts on the police force, he learns Laurel knows Arrow, so he kidnaps her. This forces Dad to cooperate with The Hood.

In the attack on Vanch, I am again struck by the violence of this so-called hero’s methods. By my count, there are at least eight of Vanch’s men who take arrows right in the chest. Can you live through that? It’s what bothered me about previews of the show before it aired. Have they made Green Arrow into a serial killer? Man, give me an old-fashioned boxing glove arrow any day.

In the soap opera portion of the show, honesty gets between Laurel and Tommy. Disappointingly this coupling has yet to be used to its potential as far as being a plot complication. So much unused potential, but I’ll keep waiting. Laurel’s relationship with her dad is suffering from problems similar to hers with Tommy as well this episode. I wonder what’s next on “All My Arrows”…

On the island, Oliver meets Slade Wilson, played by Manu Bennett, Crixus of Starz’ amazing “Spartacus” series. Comics readers will immediately recognize the name Slade Wilson as the not so secret identity of Deathstroke. Again, for TV they have flipped things. Wilson is apparently one of two Deathstrokes, and not the one Oliver encountered earlier. Apparently Slade is who trains Oliver. I won that bet.

There are other cool shout outs this episode as well. Vanch’s lawyer worked for Wolfman and Perez, referencing the writer/artist team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez, who created the New Teen Titans, a team that occasionally featured Speedy. They also, most notably, created Deathstroke. Laurel wants to call DA Kate Spencer for help to put Vanch back in prison. Kate is of course the civilian identity of Manhunter. Arrow and Laurel meet atop the Winick building – Judd Winick, former MTV “Real World” wrote the Green Arrow comic for a while.

Be here next episode when Oliver tells his mom that she’s failed the city, same Arrow time, same Arrow channel.

Quickies 7-15-2010

Surge of Power: The Stuff of Heroes ~ This campy comedic superhero film is badly acted and directed, in an almost unintended Rocky Horror or Lost Skeleton of Cadavra way, but its script and heart are in the right place. If you rent it, stay with it. The most intriguing part of the flick is its gay-centric cast and community, a trick that really works well, and doesn’t overpower the rest of the movie. Look for fun cameos by Noel Neill, Lou Ferrigno and Nichelle Nichols as well as Marv Wolfman and Len Wein. Tom Tangen is hilarious as multiple characters, writer Vincent J. Roth is charming in the title role, and do not miss the costume party. This is a lot more fun than it at first seems, check it out.

Empire Records ~ This cult favorite pseudo-remake of FM, only at a record store instead of a radio station, is a pleasant surprise. While painfully predictable, it’s also a lot of fun and has a killer soundtrack. Great Gwar cameo and bonus, Renee Zellweger not only sings, but her eyes are open for most of the movie.

Pirate Radio ~ Great sixties soundtrack, but wow, not a great movie at all. It also has a terrific cast, most of which is wasted here. I think this is the first Richard Curtis flick that I haven’t liked. I guess everyone misses sometimes.

Franklyn ~ Really? Darkman meets Dark City with just a touch of Repo! The Genetic Opera thrown in for good measure – really? This is what you were shooting for? This is pretty, this is stunning, but it is very much style over substance. There were whole sequences that were so boring that I fell asleep. It’s a steampunk Tim Burton wannabe visual overdose without much story to support it. Eye candy, but that’s all.

Killers ~ This one was quite a surprise for me. I was fully expecting a mindless romantic comedy here. I don’t like Ashton Kutcher and as I don’t watch “Grey’s Anatomy,” I have no point of reference for Katherine Heigl. She was painfully adequate for 27 Dresses but that called for that type of performance. But Killers, other than being a bit more predictable than I would have liked plotwise, is a lot of fun. I really enjoyed this romantic dark comedy with a twist. And director Robert Luketic should definitely be plugged in to work on the Bond films because he has the eye needed. Recommended.

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Wizard World Philly – Sunday

Got a late start today and friend and fellow Comic Widows writer Anthony came along for the ride this time. The main thrust of the trip today was to attend the Avengers panel, so after showing the press room to Ant, trying to do some writing and helping myself to one of their kindly offered Cokes, I was off to Avengers-land.

In attendance: king of the Annihilation pimps Bill Rosemann, the gracious Molly Lazer, Jim McCann, CB Cebulski of Loners (applause) fame and of course, Bendis (who was late).

The panel began with (what else?) a slide show. We got to see House of M: Avengers again. They said that libraries and bookstores had requested more House of M because it were so popular(!). They pushed Avengers/Transformers really hard. It made me wonder if they were worried about this one, or just really proud of it. It’s got the pre-Civil War Captain America in it, now there’s a selling point.

Then we dived into Skrull territory. With the dead Electra being revealed as a Skrull in the most recent issue of New Avengers, the vibe has been – who can we trust? Who is a Skrull and who isn’t? Bendis pointed out that this has been going on for almost three years at least, referencing the “shadowy figure on page two of New Avengers #1.” Hmmm, I had always thought that was Nick Fury, but maybe it was the Skrull double of Nick Fury?? Nevertheless, Bendis said the Skrull story will come to a head early next year.

Next slide was about appearances of Tigra, Machine Man and Sleepwalker in upcoming issues of Ms. Marvel. The cover shown looked like a ‘catfight’ between Carol and Tigra. I’m glad my buddy Ray wasn’t there today. 😉

The talk returned to Skrulls. Bendis put forth the idea that this was a great opportunity to get more for your money with your comics. You could re-read all the books from the last few years, play detective and look for clues as to who is and who isn’t a Skrull. What is out of character behavior because of a change of attitude, and what is a change because of Skrulliness? The Skrulls have always attacked with rayguns and spaceships, why should they when they are shapechangers and could just infiltrate us? This is especially viable with the state of the world today with terrorism and all that. Who can you trust?

Next up for me was the Marv Wolfman panel, which wasn’t really a panel at all, but just himself with a slideshow. He talked his career from fanzines to Warren to Marvel to DC and today. He of course spotlighted Tomb of Dracula, New Teen Titans and Crisis on Infinite Earths. When the slides were done he went to the room for questions.

Regarding Crisis Marv said he hated continuity. Continuity ties the hands of good writers with the stories of bad writers. Interesting. This was merely the first of many astonishing statements from Mr. Wolfman. He doesn’t read any series he’s written after he’s left that book. He never saw Deathstroke as a villain. He didn’t want to kill the Barry Allen Flash, that was forced on him. He thinks we are in the ‘real Golden Age’ now because we have so many truly talented people in the industry today. What about your generation and before, Marv? Told ya, astonishing.

Wolfman discussed his creation of the current version of Lex Luthor. He grew up in the 1950s where Luthor in his prison grays would escape every other issue, and thought the super-suit was a mistake, as Luthor would never be Superman’s equal physically. He surmised Luthor’s greatest weapon was his brain, so he should use it to conceive crimes he could never be convicted of. Also, jealousy not vanity would be why Lex hates Superman. Better idea, better motivation. He also praised Michael Rosenbaum for his portrayal of Luthor on “Smallville.”

Marv talked of Dick Grayson and how he preferred Robin as the responsible leader of the Teen Titans rather than the jerky pun-spouting brat who was Batman’s partner. He said when the Bat-editors wanted Robin back he suggested they create a new one. They loved it, and came up with Jason Todd and Marv made Dick Grayson Nightwing. He didn’t care, as long as he got to keep Grayson.

He briefly discussed new projects like a new Superman series, and he just finished the script for the new animated Teen Titans movie. All in all, a pretty enjoyable if surprising panel of one. By that time, Anthony and I were hungry and beat. After a stop at Philly’s Hard Rock we were done.

I had a lot of fun and really wore myself out. I was stunned by the amount of folks who knew me, both from Comic Widows and especially Avengers Forever. I have to say that comparatively this was a smaller con than most Wizards I’ve been to. Perhaps New York and the Heroes Con in Charlotte are taking a bite out of Wizard’s reign?