Category Archives: suicide squad

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!

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: Home Invasion

Deadshot has been a growing threat in the world of “Arrow.” While a minor Batman villain and Suicide Squad superstar in the comics, here he is a one-eyed super-assassin for hire. His most twisted attribute, besides the weird red eye piece, is his penchant for tattooing the names of his victims on his body.

His biggest claim to infamy on the series is that he killed John Diggle’s brother. Diggle is now obsessed, perhaps ever more so than Oliver. Not only is revenge biting his ass, but Diggle’s can’t really move his relationship with his sister-in-law (his late bro’s wife) until Deadshot is dealt with.

We open on Diggle training with Oliver, while Deadshot makes another hit. Felicity has hacked into ARGUS and is tracking Deadshot. I really have to wonder where this is going with ARGUS. Is there a Justice League in Oliver’s future? Probably not, as this ARGUS acronym isn’t the same as the comics.

Diggle’s contact in ARGUS has a little more fire. Named Lyla in the show, she’s given the surname Michaels in the Arrow companion comic. Lyla Michaels is the real name of Harbinger, a power player in DC Comics’ Crisis on Infinite Earths way back in 1985. Harbinger was missioned with the task of collecting the superheroes who would then save the universe/multiverse. Harbinger is even her codename in the show. What an interesting connection.

The opening shoves a whole lot of plot, subplot, and information into a very short amount of time, so much so, my head began to spin a bit. The current dynamic of Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity is counterpointed by the flashback dynamic of Oliver, Deathstroke, and Shado. We also learn Oliver is lunchdating Laurel even though he’s on the outs with Tommy. Bad, Oliver, just the first of many bad decisions this episode.

This is all under eight minutes, before the credit sequence. We are also introduced the main plot/subplot of this episode. Laurel is working with a family who were testifying against a bad man, List-worthy, but surprisingly not on it – it could be his dumb name, Edward Rasmus. His hired killer, Mr. Blank, gets the parents but misses the seven year old son. Laurel takes the kid in. Don’t think the thought hasn’t crossed my mind that most times when you add a kid, you’ve jumped the shark.

This is all in about ten minutes. The episode hasn’t really even started. It doesn’t get less complicated as the episode continues. After a few awkward moments between ex-friends Oliver and Tommy, some bonding between Tommy and the kid, and a fairly cool scene where Mr. Blank attacks Laurel, the couple and the kid move in with the Queens to enjoy the heavy security there. I found that puzzling. Besides Diggle, Queen security has seemed extremely lame. Obviously it’s The Hood who will protect them, but Quentin Lance shouldn’t have agreed to it.

It gets very predictable at this point. There are newborn kittens who knew Oliver will be distracted with Deadshot the next time Mr. Blank attacks, letting everyone down, duh. Or the other way around, although it should have been the former. As one would expect, Oliver makes the bad choice. The worst choice, and we lose Diggle over it. At this point, the only thing that could make this worse would be an appearance by the Huntress.

Speaking of bad choices, on the island, while being trained in archery, Oliver kisses Shado. For comics fans, we know how that works out. The cliffhanger here finally means forward motion on the island at least.

Mr. Blank is an intriguing villain, played by J. August Richards, formerly of “Angel.” He reminds me a lot of Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative in Serenity. He’s very calm, very precise, and likes to make conversation with his prey. He was a very suitable foe for this version of Green Arrow. His clash with Oliver is perhaps one if the best of the series so far.

As if there’s not enough going on, Roy Harper, who is apparently dating fellow Speedy, Oliver’s sister Thea, is trying to track down The Hood. There is a good scene where finally it’s addressed that The Hood is a murderer. Finally. Thea agrees to help Roy find The Hood. More shark jumping in the form of idiotic 1950s secret identity protection? I hope not, cuz that’s what breaks up Tommy and Laurel. Worst case scenario – Oliver takes on a teenage sidekick (or two) to replace Diggle. I know it’s the natural progression, but damn it, I liked David Ramsey’s Diggle a lot.

This was a very uneven episode, save some great character bits, a throwaway Wonder Twins reference, and of course, Mr. Blank. Only three more episodes to go, I wonder how it’s going to go…

Sweating 02: It’s Not Easy Being Green

SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF 02

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Reviewing: Green Arrow: Quiver graphic novel, Green Lantern #151, Green Lantern Secret Files #3, Green Lantern: Brightest Day Blackest Night, Spectre #18, 19, Suicide Squad #10 and Incredible Hulk: The End.

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

Have you seen the video for “Papa Don’t Preach” by Kelly Osbourne yet? Terrible, isn’t it? The sound is a miracle of studio magic and visually it looks like a musical performance from a 1970s variety show, I almost expect the music to stop and Sonny and Cher to come out and do a skit about women’s lib. This is in the top ten, MTV’s playing it constantly. How do they get away with this crap? Easy, Ozzy Osbourne and his MTV reality show are on top of the world right now, he can get away with anything.

Kevin Smith is the Ozzy Osbourne of the comics world. He can get away with anything. Thus is his run on Green Arrow now collected into the graphic novel called “Quiver.” If you’re a Kevin Smith fan and want to try out his comics work, this ain’t the place to start. The man who wrote the most accessible comics movie script ever for the unproduced “Superman Lives” has gone the other way completely for Green Arrow.

If you don’t read comics you’ll be lost from page one on this one. Kevin Smith takes great care in weaving his story through the rocky terrain that is the continuity of the DC universe. In bringing a dead hero back to life and confronting his friends Smith has perfectly used Oliver Queen (deceased), Black Canary (ex-lover), Arsenal (adopted son), Hal Jordan (deceased friend, now the Spectre), Connor Hawke (son, and the new Green Arrow), Batman, the Demon and even Stanley and his Monster without fouling up their current whereabouts like most editors would allow. Smith has done his homework, something most of DC’s editors should do more often.
It’s an epic story worth reading as well. Can’t wait to see what he’s got planned for Spider-Man later this year.

I met Judd Winick at the Philadelphia Wizard Con, for a celebrity (late of the only “Real World” that was entertaining, the one in San Francisco with Puck) he was very laid back and approachable, something that can’t really be said of all comics professionals. He was very excited about his run on Green Lantern and so am I.
I love Winick’s writing style, I’d read anything he wrote. I’d read anything he wrote, if he re-wrote the phone book or Moulin Rouge I’d devour it. Likewise I can’t say I’ve liked everything he’s done with Green Lantern but nonetheless I enjoyed reading it. He has made me like Kyle Rayner, a character I’d previously written off as a cipher.

In Green Lantern #151, a great jumping on point for the series we get a new costume and a new storyline. Folks in New York are going temporarily insane for no reason and Kyle gotta stop them. It’s typical superhero fare but with style. If you’re not reading Green Lantern, pick it up, if only for Judd Winick. The characters feel real and you care about them – if they’re just going to work or hanging out or saving the universe, you’ll still wanna read about them, try it.

If you are into Winick, check out Green Lantern Secret Files #3 for a taste of Kyle Raynor’s fictional comic strip to see what else he can do. You also get a lead story by Ben Raab (who also wrote the incredible Legend of Hawkman earlier this year) ably aping Winick’s style and a pin-up by golden age great and creator of Green Lantern Mart Nodell.

Speaking of the Golden Age Green Lantern, Brightest Day Blackest Night is also on the stands now, it features Alan Scott’s first encounter with Solomon Grundy by Steven T. Seagle who masterfully wrote some of the best Sandman Mystery Theatres recapturing the golden age. We get to see Alan’s first meeting with Doiby Dickles, how he moved to Gotham City, his first female companion Irene Miller, a planeload of Nazis, all this and Solomon Grundy too! This is what Seagle does best, takes existing continuity and builds upon it without changing it. A very satisfying tale for the golden age fan.

Staying with the green theme we next have the Spectre who is now former Green Lantern Hal Jordan. In Spectre #18 we have two distinctly different tales that should have perhaps occupied two different issues. In one we have the continuity heavy story of Abin Sur returning home – too dense for anyone not familiar with the whole Green Lantern mythos but a good story anyway.

Then we have Materna Minxx teaching Jordan’s young niece in a tale worthy of the old Sandman series. It’s magical and fantastic in that way and made me long for Neil Gaiman and the days when comics were written up in Spin magazine; too bad it won’t happen here because of the other intertwined story in the book.

In Spectre #19 we have the return of John Ostrander the writer of the previous (and must read, it’s brilliant) Spectre series. Here we get a wonderful morality tale of good and evil as the Spectre confronts Darkseid over a little girl persecuted by his minions. Why is there evil? Deep stuff. Must read. Ostrander is, as always, an excellent writer.

In Suicide Squad #10 we get a lost tale of our boys in green, Sgt. Rock and Easy Company, where they encounter Rip Hunter and the dinosaurs of the island that time forgot. Rock and Bulldozer recall this special mission in a flashback to 1959. Great story featuring why Rock doesn’t like superheroes and a cameo from Solomon Grundy (him again? He’s having a good month. There’s a tale I’d like to see, when did Easy face off with Grundy??). This is the second flashback issue with Sgt. Rock in this series, why doesn’t DC just bring back Our Army At War already? I’d rather read that than this bad re-wash of Suicide Squad.

Lastly we jump over the fence to Marvel for Incredible Hulk: The End. Writer Peter David wanted one last shot at the character, a chance to tie up all the loose ends from his decade long run on the book – supposedly this was it.
I think Peter David ran out of things to say about the Hulk a long time ago. This wordy poorly overwritten piece of crap cost me $5.95!!! Who do I see at Marvel to get my money back? Nothing is tied up, this is an unneeded sequel to the Maestro story from a few years back, David has come out from his shadow of great comics writer to be labeled a hack with this one. Don’t waste your money.

reprinted from http://www.comicwidows.com