Welcome to the weekly Super Hero Comic Book TV Power Rankings! In which every week I discuss and rank the weeks Superhero 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
Will return in 2015
The Flash/Arrow Crossover
If there was ever a case to be made for a DC shared universe it’s this. Starling City and Central City feel all that much different yet bigger at the same time with this crossover. It looks like a new Metahuman is on the loose, a guy named Prism who is able to transmit overwhelming feelings of rage with just a glance. Cue some fun Flash power showcase and all of a sudden the Arrow shows up! Ollie is tracking down a killer who was recently seen in Central City and we saw Captain Boomerang at the end of last week’s episode. So naturally the two decide to help each other out and your classic team up cliches all appear here. There is some jealousy, some hero to hero fighting, some team ups, it’s literally all here and it’s fun as F#$K. If we’re being honest, the bad guys here barely matter. It’s all about the dynamic between Ollie and Barry. These two work really well off of each other as do the other members of their respective teams. Diggle complete and utter disbelief of Barry and Cisco and Caitlin’s desire to see the “Arrow Cave’ are all great.
In The Flash, Ollie decides to teach Barry a few hard lessons about what it takes to be a hero. Sure Barry has his powers and his eagerness but Ollie has hard won experience and superior skills. He dresses Barry down when he calls him out of just blindly running into situations without realizing what he could be getting himself into. After getting shown up by Ollie in training, Barry rushes into a battle with Prism blindly and ends up getting “Whammied” by his rage powers. After Prism gets away, Barry seems strangely unaffected and believes himself to be fine. Only we find out later that due to his powers, Barry’s rage is instead a slow burn that will eventually blow up in spectacular fashion. Barry starts acting more and more like a dick to his friends and eventually goes after Iris’ boyfriend Eddie after he find out that Thawne was trying to raise a task force to stop the Flash. Cue the contractually obligated hero fight and boy, did they not disappoint. They even had some jawing back and forth between the teams as to which one of them would take down the other. Barry’s powers are a clear factor here but Ollie is so much better prepared and he and the teams are eventually able to wake Barry up from his rage fest ending what would seem like a tie. Once the two are on the same page, the literal next scene is Prism, already defeated and locked up. That’s how unimportant this bad guy was. Over in Arrow, Captain Boomerang is at least a danger to people even though his “battle” is just as anticlimactic.
Since we got all the hero V hero stuff out of the way in Flash, when Barry shows up in Starling City, it’s more about how different the two are from one another. Which was already obvious, and we know that Flash got the fun part of the team up and now Arrow gets the boring diametrically opposed methods to how the two operate. What is interesting however, is the way that Cisco and Caitlin describe how things are different between the two teams. He hits the nail on the head saying that because they deal with metahumans that it all seems less real whereas The Arrow deals with more ‘real life’ problems like murder and blood and things that could potentially happen to you. It’s really a brilliant way of looking at things as all heroes can’t feel the same. Superman wouldn’t and pretty much doesn’t know how to deal with Batman’s problems because they are “human” problems. The same way Iron Man wouldn’t know how to deal with Frank Castle’s sh!t. This is obvious when Barry sees firsthand how Ollie operates, using torture and serious bodily harm to get the job done. Oliver explains (rightly) that he never had the luxury of powers and yeah, I don’t think we would have a Barry Allen if he had to go through the same stuff that Oliver Queen had to do.
The Superman/Batman comparisons here are laid on thick and it’s a little annoying because CW Arrow has to be more ‘Batman’ than ‘Green Arrow’ most of the time but it still works. And with all the bad guys put away, The Arrow and The Flash decide to have a Rocky III moment in private just to decide who really is better. *Ding Ding* Indeed.
With news coming out lately that shows like Arrow and Flash aren’t even allowed to mention the city of Gotham or Metropolis is a little disheartening. These two shows are confined to their own cities but when combined the world grows that much bigger. You get the feeling that there is a living, breathing world around these two and that more metahumans could show up in Arrow or the Suicide Squad could pop up and wreck havoc in Central City. Why can’t CW have their own version of Gotham? Are they worried audiences will become confused? I think we are a little late for that. Why can’t Constantine run into Barry and accidently but totally on purpose sleeps with Iris West while Barry has to fight off demons. I know there are different channels but this crossover really shines a light on what the TV DCU is missing out on with all these franchises scattered to the four corners like this.
I love me some crossover gimmick episodes and while Flash delivers with some hero to hero fistacuffs Arrow supplies the psychological side to the heroes and the worlds they life in. Plus Rocky III homages will win my heart every time.
Agents of SHIELD
Ye Who Enter Here
So about that mid-season finale… sorry I was a week off there…. but hey! Another very solid episode of Agents this week. The timeoff did throw me a bit because this show has so much going on that they need to do all they can to not lose people.
The gang found the location of the lost city (Attilan) last episode but before we get there, some loose ends need to be tied up. Fitz and Simmons need to have their moment. Bobbi and Mac reveal to the viewer that they have been hiding something, and the woman in the red dress pops up again because plot. Agent 33 AKA Agent Scarface May shows up to try and take Raina but is foiled at the last second by Skye and the Patton Oswalts. I still don’t know the full backstory on these guys. My gut says LMDs but they show far too much emotion for me to be fully comfortable with that conclusion. My guess is that they are waiting for them to be introduced via Avengers or some other Marvel movie before getting the go-ahead to reveal that Koenig brothers are actually robots. That being said, I’ve always enjoyed the characters and Patton is clearly having fun with the role given to him.
We find our team split up with Coulson, Mac, Bobbi and Fitz-Simmons nearing the city and with Skye Antoine, Lance the Koenig brothers and Agent May on the ship with Raina. Big bad Hydra goon Ward shows up who is clearly super evil at this point but at least somewhat honorable and he makes off with Raina and Skye as they are revealed to be able to make contact with the obelisk without instantly being turned to stone. We also find out that the aliens that provided the damn thing, were in fact, Kree aliens. Which blows the doors off the whole Inhuman theory as in the comics, the Kree are responsible for the Inhumans existing in the first place.
Meanwhile in the city the Coulsons group is trying to find the entrance way to the city and Mac get’s infected with something and rages out on everybody. He eventually gets stopped but falls down a giant hole and his fate is unknown. Whitewall, finds out that Ward took Skye with him which was not part of the plan and decides to blow everybody on the plan up. Everybody is shocked and then the episode ends.
Was it the greatest SHIELD episode? No. Are we 1-2 too episodes past the appropriate build up point? Yes. Did I still enjoy the hell out of it? You bet I did. Granted some crazy things were happening but the episode didn’t let loose like say last week’s Flash did. However, the confidence that Agents has in itself right now is shining through which makes episodes like there where not much happens still enjoyable. Things still seem important and like they are going to have an impact. If this goes full blown Inhumans then Agents of SHIELD will go from ‘Bonus Marvel Cinematic Universe Content’ to ‘Actual important piece to the mythos of the Marvel U’ Which is all you really want at the end of the day.
Ye Who Enter Here is basically two plot points stretched out over 42 minutes of television but it was still enjoyable. Agents of SHIELD is on it’s way to actually being important.
Blessed are the Damned
The stakes appear to raise a bit in this weeks Constantine. A preacher wholly lacking in the charisma department gets bit by a snake during a boondocks style sermon which ends up killing him. Only to find out that he has miraculously saved by an unknown force and is now able to heal the sick and the poor. It’s Constantine V Religion this week as smarmy takes on the faithful!
Zed is in art class when she gets a vision which- wait hold on…. Art class? The same art class that was the “reason” for why she wasn’t in last weeks episode? You know for a loner on the run, she sure does make time to attend class over you know… saving the world. Sigh… So yeah Zed gets a vision and John mentions that Chas is spending time with his kid which… OK? I guess that won’t be a plot point until it is, but to just throw that out there like that is sort of annoying. So yeah, no Chas which leads us to another two person job which always feels cleaner than when all three are running around doing pointless busy work.
What makes this episode pretty fun is that Constantine isn’t really dealing with a bad person. Sure the preacher’s gifts end up turning the healed into mindless ghouls but it’s not on purpose. The power he obtained was obtained by plucking an Angel’s feather when it came to take him away when he was dying. He believe this was a second chance while John isn’t convinced and is kind of smarmy about the whole thing. This isn’t full blown asshat John but it’s on the right track.
What makes this feel more important than the previous episodes is that we are introducing angels and heavy hitters in the war against light and dark. Sure Manny has been popping up once in a while here or there, but this time he’s actually involved as John and Zed find the Angel, Imogen who’s feather was plucked by the preacher. Turns out that’s all you need to do to incapacitate one and all of a sudden the angel becomes mortal and starts to expire. One of the highlights here is the conversation between Manny and Imogen. Manny is curious what feeling mortal is like and Imogen and he discuss how frustrating it is that the humans are so bad and pretty much everything. It adds a lot of layers to Manny and reveals how close to the edge Angels are as they barely tolerate humans as they feel that we don’t know how good we have it. John and Zed eventually get the feather away from the preacher who realizes what he’s done and admits to some bad stuff from his past that tells us that the Angel he met wasn’t taking him to Heaven… but to Hell. Which means this Angel was no Angel but one of the Fallen. So John and Zed accidently give Imogen her full power back which forces Manny to get involved and boom. We have Angels fighting. It’s not some big drag out brawl or anything but when Angels are killing each other it’s telling the viewer that some serious stuff is happening.
I guess this week’s theme is all about importance and Constantine is slowly realizing that a show about a coming war between Heaven and Hell should feel bigger than it has been. World building with the Angel backstory is great for adding weight to the surrounding events.
Smarmy Constantine and Angels fighting? It’s like this show is slowly realizing it’s potential.
A surprisingly competent trailer dropped check it out
Current Power Rankings
Flash (1 tied) Previously (1)
Arrow (1 tied) Previously (5)
Agents of SHIELD (3) Previously (n/a)
Constantine (4) Previously (3)
Gotham (n/a) Previously (2)