Welcome to the weekly Super Hero Comic Book TV Power Rankings! In which every week I discuss and rank the weeks Super Hero TV shows. This means shows like Flash, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Constantine and Gotham. Sorry Walking Dead fans but there are no Super Power elements in your show. Please feel free to comment and yell at me for what I did wrong or how off base I was with my rankings. I’ll see you in the comments
Warning: Here be Spoilers
The Mask is a continuation of the ‘monster of the week’ formula but still touches on the events prior. Something the series has had issues with in the past. Gordon still harbors some pretty sympathetic resentment for the other cops for that time they sort of left him high and dry when he faced off with Zsasz, and it is causing some issues. Bullock was the top dog in the department and Gordon’s boy scout attitude is hurting his image. We are introduced to Richard Sionis who comics would at least recognize the last name as Black Mask. Basically the guy runs a firm which is a strange mix between Wolf of Wall street and Fight Club. He gives out jobs and promotions to those who manage to take out the other and literally fight their way to the top. It’s wacky and a bad comparison to make when Gotham is trying to show off Jim’s “Dark Side” the episode prior did this much better, where this just feels like it wants to beat you over the head with it.
We get some meaty Bruce Wayne stuff where Alfred is making Bruce go back to school to be around other kids. Here he meets chubby eyeliner bad kid Tommy Elliot who bullies Bruce about his dead parents in classic evil middle schooler fashion. Seriously middle school kids are the worst. What I was not expecting however, was the way Alfred reacted to seeing young master Bruce get beat up. I wouldn’t have thought for a second comic book Alfred would have basically given the kid a weapon and told him to go nuts on the bully. Which is exactly what Gotham Alfred did and I gotta say… I liked it. There hasn’t been much to say about Sean Perwtee’s take on the famous butler as most of the time he screamed “oi!” a lot and was weirdly racist that one episode. This Alfred is clearly a harder edged version and I like that he teaches Bruce to standup for himself and shows him how to crack a few heads when needed.
Infinitely less enjoyable was Barbara’s reaction to pretty much everything these last two episodes. She pokes and prods into Jim’s work like after he repeatedly told her that she needs to stop. As soon as she does, she pretty much ruins Jim’s plan to take out the crime boss and now drinks all the time and gets mad at Jim for working. Sure he was a little short with her over the phone but that’s because he was about to get into office warfare. Barb bit off way more than she could chew and couldn’t stand it. For her I have no sympathy. Also Selina Kyle shows up and I’m sure will seem important and then end up being pointless next episode
A drop in quality for sure, but still an enjoyable episode.
So I guess the Ted Grant Wildcat stuff was more than an easter egg. We find out that Ted used to be a vigilante much like Arrow but he acted on a much smaller scale so it never made the news. He and Laurel are forming a relationship and while not intimate yet, c’mon. Its TV we’re talking here. Someone is killing off small time hoods and the trail of bodies to Ted. Arrow and Ted clearly get off on the wrong foot with a fun fight that brilliantly ends with the oft requested boxing glove arrow. We get some of that tension between the two over the fact that they both have some sort of feels for Laurel but not nearly enough to satisfy.
I’m not sure if it’s J.R. Ramirez or the writing or both but Ted Grant is a bore. The guy used to fight crime, used to be a heavyweight boxing champion (even though he is clearly too small for the weight class) and he has a tortured sidekick (more on that later) but he was so boringly lawful good about the whole thing it had no edge. Dude, you used to beat criminals up with brass knuckles why don’t you act like it?
One of the few good things about last week’s episode was that it ended on a bit of a revelation. It looks like weird drugged up Roy was Sara’s killer the whole time! Except it was some sort of boring guilt thing that happened to Roy during the riots of last season. Here’s the thing, Roy killed a cop last season when he was all jacked up on the miracuru…miracle…miracu- THAT STUFF. So yeah he sort of crossed a line that is hard to come back from. The problem here is that you can’t come back to that moment 10+ episodes and a season break and expect it to have an impact with the audience. At this point I forgot, the writers forgot until just now and clearly Roy forgot so now we are back to not knowing who killed Sara and Roy has another dumb excuse to be sad about things. Prior to this Roy and Ted’s old sidekick Isaac (the REAL brass knuckle murderer) got into it and he was telling Roy that all he is really is just another weapon in the Arrow’s arsenal (GET IT?!) This seems like it could turn into its own thing but Ollie immediately assures Roy that he will never abandon or give up on him… Cool I guess?
The flashback stuff remain supremely uninspired as Ollie learns how to recall memory. How you ask? Well it’s not some ancient trick he learned from some monk. He is told to close his eyes, breath and concentrate and voila! He remembers. That’s it. I’m just saying a vigilante who fights crimes with world class bow and arrow skills shouldn’t be using the same recall techniques I use when I lose my keys.
Laurel admits to everyone that she is super excited to fight crime and I personally hope she eats shit as a result. Lastly ANOTHER ARROW THEMED PERSON joins the show as some woman who dubbed herself ‘Cupid’ takes out Isaac as the episode cuts to black. That brings the tally up to about 850 THOUSAND bow and arrow characters.
A decent episode with some bland characterization but sort of saved by my love of goofy Boxing Glove Arrows.
Agents of SHIELD
The Writing on the Wall
So I may go back and forth with this but the symbol plotline has really overstayed its welcome about an episode or two. My issue is that the mystery is fine and dandy but we know about as much in its first appearance as we did this week. There was no incentive to move forward aside that it was slowly driving Coulson insane but I think we needed a bit more carrot and a lot less stick with this storyline. The good news is that all that symbol garbage is basically over and done with this episode as we finally find out what it all means. The bad news? It means another mystery. I’m starting to get flashbacks of Walking Dead season 2 and we’re still looking for that damn girl on the damn farm.
Far more interesting is CRAZY Ward being on the lam and how even though the SHIELD team is pretty great at their job, Ward is just as good and crazy enough to avoid capture. His subtle movements showing the C4 strapped to his body or him noticing that Bobbi was still on the same page that she was outside the bus were inspired if a bit hammy.
What’s impressive about this season is how fluid everything seems to be. This episode, while not it’s greatest, feels like it’s in the middle of a 20+ hour movie. The week to week formula that plagued its first season and other shows on this list can hardly be found.
But yeah, Coulson beats up a weird old buff guy (see: every episode of Gotham) and we find out that the symbols are some sort of map but when seen in 3D it looks like the outline of some sort of city. I could be off base here but for some reason this SCREAMS Inhuman to me and not cosmic Kree like we have assumed before. Maybe this ties into the ‘miracles’ that are Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver in Age of Ultron but seeing how there won’t be an Inhuman film for about 9 years, I’m thinking this could be a bit too early for that.
Not a terrible episode but not great either. It’s just fits smoothly along with the rest of the season.
A ‘metahuman’ of the week type episode where Flash meets a woman who can charge non organic objects into explosives…. So Gambit… she’s a female Gambit. Cisco aptly names her Plastique and we all want to spit in his dumb face. Actually, that’s a bit harsh because he had a fun interaction with Barry after he accidently lets his suit explode that sounded like an argument that a couple of 20 something friends would have in real life.
Iris is still on the big blog hunt for news of the ‘Streak’ and during one of Barry’s recues he manages to come face to face with her while doing a neat blurry faced trick to conceal his identity. Joe implores that Barry try to talk her out of researching more of this but Barry only makes things worse when he dons the costume and tries to talk Iris out of writing about him. So a few clichés here… One. Superhero meets the reporter on a rooftop at night. Two. Said superhero is clearly using his mystique to hit on said reporter. And three. Said reporter is clearly super turned on by all this. So basically what I’m trying to tell you is that Barry Allen is a huge creep and he totally knows it but after years of being friend zoned, can you really blame him?
Evil voiced Clancy Brown guest stars here as General Eiling who is after Plastique and repeatedly refers to her as an ‘asset’ and even though the team tries their best to cure her. She is eventually shot down by evil Clancy. So Flash has to race her to the ocean in a blatant show of special effects. She’s kind of a throwaway just to set up that the general will be a returning character as clearly he and Harrison Wells have a history. Also a fun theory that I sort of hope is true is making the rounds that would make Dr. Wells a far more interesting ‘evil scientist’ that I would have guessed.
An OK episode that tells us that Barry Allen is a huge creep and hints at TV CGI Gorillas in the near future.
A Feast of Friends
This is what I would consider the first good episode of Constantine so far. An old friend of John comes to town and he accidentally releases a hunger demon in Atlanta. Instead of the “bibs and bobs” and the “bollocks to bloody hells” we get a somewhat more stoic Constantine this week. His friend, Gary Lester is from the “old days” who was involved with the Newcastle incident that led to Astra getting dragged to hell.
See Gary is a bit of a mess, he’s a junkie, doesn’t have many skills and basically admits to hanging around John because he was so cool back in the day. He pretty much treats Gary like dirt and I suppose he should. The guy did after all bring an all-powerful hunger demon to town.
Eventually John knows what he has to do and reconciles with Gary and they go to take the demon down together, but the thing is, the demon needs a host to be trapped inside until they both die. Gary realizes that this was Constantine’s plan the whole time and since he’s amounted to nothing his whole life he decides to make the ultimate sacrifice. This is what the appeal to this character has been and why he’s been around for so long, the guy has to make hard decisions by essentially sacrificing his friends life not by asking directly or because Gary had this death wish. He had to trick him into coming and yes, he let Gary come to the decision himself but John had to push him the whole way there. Also, this is not some one and done thing, Gary is going to suffer before he dies, a lot. John stays with him until he eventually expires which doesn’t make him a saint by any means but it does show that John did not make this decision lightly. Does this make John Constantine a bad guy? Maybe, but thats the line he’s always walked on. Zed gives him grief about what he’s done to Gary but John correctly states that Gary came to him not the other way around. He has to be the guy that will make the hard decisions that other character can’t or won’t make.
Zed is sort of wasted here, we find out that she has sort of Rogue-like abilities where by touching some people she absorbs the thoughts and some experiences, but it doesn’t really go anywhere in the course of the episode. Earlier it seemed like this was going to be a Zed themed hour but it feels like they rewrote this episode midway through because all the allusions to Zed “letting her walls down” are sort of ignored here and she is relegated to background character. Not that this is a bad thing because the episode is much stronger due to the direction they seemed to have gone.
First good to great episode of the season so far +10 Renegade points for John Constantine
A surprisingly competent trailer dropped check it out
Constantine (1) Previously (5)
Gotham (2) Previously (1)
Agents of SHIELD (3) Previously (3)
Arrow (4) Previously (4)
Flash (5) Previously (2)