Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

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Superman's Pal
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Superman's Pal
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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Subj: Ep 2 & 3 "S.T.R.I.P.E." & "Icicle"
Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 at 04:58:42 am EDT (Viewed 402 times)
Reply Subj: CW's Stargirl "Pilot"
Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 at 08:23:55 pm EDT (Viewed 536 times)

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I’m a bit behind, this show premiered a couple of months ago and there was a thread on the DC Universe board about it, but since it’s a JSA-centric show I thought it belonged on this board.

I just watched the first episode and plan to watch the rest, I guess 8 episodes are currently out and there are going to be 13 this season.

I guess I’m old school so it’s odd to think that the JSA only came and went 10 years ago, as the opening title card tells us. So they existed post-2000 not in the 1940s. Another reason why that’s weird is that the show begins in what looks like the real world, but if superheroes are a part of normal everyday life here you would think it might be a little bit different. Like when they did the JSA on Smallville they had to say that they were a forgotten team that operated in secret decades ago and no one ever knew about them. But this is coming in after like 10 years of CW shows so I guess they figure you’re on board with the superhero premise or you’re not.

We start right in the thick of things with the JSA battling the ISA (Injustice Society). They don’t bother to introduce everyone or their gimmick, looks like the ISA is being led by the Wizard or Brainwave. Where did the giant black hand come from, was that Karkull? I think the lady with the braid was GA Huntress? The guy with the hockey mask must have been Sportsmaster. For some reason the big hero of the JSA is Starman, Sylvester Pemberton rather than Dr. Fate or Green Lantern. The entire JSA gets killed except for Starman who is rescued by his sidekick Stripesy in the Star Rocket Racer, I presume. They crash shortly after and Starman dies in Stripesy’s arms telling him to pass on the Cosmic Staff “but not to you, you’re not a hero” he says. Unless that’s a ‘tough love’ way of trying to motivate him, it’s kind of a dick thing to say.

Now we cut to present day Blue Valley, Nebraska where Stripesy AKA Pat Dugan has moved his family; his son Mike, his wife Barbara and stepdaughter Courtney. They don’t know he used to be a superhero but it’s not long before Courtney stumbles across his secret. The Cosmic Staff in this version is sentient, I guess, and chooses Courtney as its new champion. I’m not sure why it needs a champion since it has a mind of its own and can move on its own, mostly dragging her along.

They didn’t name every character we saw but I’m assuming the girl she meets in the ‘loser’s club’ at school, Beth, is going to be Dr. Midnight, the Latina girl Wildcat, and the mopey guy Hourman II. Pat sets up an auto shop and gets a visit from a nearby gym owner Larry “Crusher” Crock, yep that’s the Sportsmaster. The bullies at school are lead by a ginger who must be Brainwave Jr. since his father turns out to be Brainwave.

Courtney goes from hating her stepdad to partnering up with him pretty quick, by the end of the first episode. Kind of played out that storyline from the comic fast. She ends up being drawn to a confrontation with Brainwave but suddenly Pat shows up in his giant robot suit S.T.R.I.P.E. to help out, and: cliffhanger.

It was okay. Meshing Star-Spangled Kid and Starman into one character doesn’t really matter, nor skipping Jack Knight and giving the Staff version to Sylvester (instead of the rod or belt), just details. I don’t like how clueless Pat seems, I don’t like how the JSA treat him like he’s not one of the heroes just because he’s a sidekick or how Sylvester told him he wasn’t a hero.

There was no real character motivation for Courtney to start a hero’s journey, she just finds the poorly hidden staff and starts playing around with it. And it has super duper extra powers that will do a lot of the heavy lifting for her which makes her a little less heroic, I think.

Good costumes, effects, mostly good acting. I wish it the best, I hope it’s good. I don’t care if it crosses over with the Arrowverse.


S01E02 "S.T.R.I.P.E."

This episode picks right up from the pilot and completes the two-parter. Pat shows up in the S.T.R.I.P.E. suit to save Courtney from Brainwave. They go back home and decide not to tell Court's mom or Pat's son about their superhero life.

Somehow Pat gets up early the next morning and does a whole montage of testing S.T.R.I.P.E. and taking it back to the shop for repairs and then out to the field for more tests and back and forth four or five times before the family has breakfast in the morning.

Not much to say about the plot, they decide to go confront Brainwave and they do. It ends with Courtney touching the Cosmic Staff to his head and putting him in a vegetative state. Hmm.

I didn't really track who all was said to be in the JSA/ISA in the last episode, so I went back to check. The JSA had Wildcat, Hourman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Starman (Pemberton), and we saw Flash (Garrick)'s helmet and Sandman, and were told they are all dead. Pat tells us that Hourman actually survived that night and died later. Okay. Presumably all the other JSAers like Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Spectre, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, Johnny Thunder, Atom are dead too? But we didn't see their bodies. The ISA consisted of Huntress/Tigress (Paula Brooks), the Wizard, Sportsmaster, Brainwave, Icicle, Solomon Grundy, and some kind of giant black shadow-hand that I assume belonged to Ian Karkull but they'll probably make it an evil Obsidian or something.

Brainwave's son, Hank King Jr. is somewhat abused by his dad but also has beef with Courtney for blowing up his car and shaming him for bullying. With Courtney putting his dad in a coma I assume he will become a villain. Odd since he began as a hero in the comics and only became evil later. Which I think was probably done by this show's creator, Geoff Johns, in the "JSA" title. I'll have to check. Does this show also know that he is Sylvester Pemberton's nephew?

I don't like how they reduced Stripesy to "just a sidekick." In the comics he went on all the adventures with Sylvester. He was bigger and stronger, they were both good fighters and equally brave. He also was actually a member of the JSA in the comics (and the Seven Soldiers of Victory and Infinity Inc.) Syl was kind of a child prodigy so probably smarter than Pat, although Pat was an engineering genius who built the Star Rocket Racer and S.T.R.I.P.E. suit among other things. Here he's the guy who kept Syl's suit clean, like a butler?

S01E03 "Icicle"

Who is that janitor guy at the school anyway? They keep lingering on him. It's been a while since I read "Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E." but I think that might be Courtney's real bio-dad.

Why does Pat take Courtney to the mothballed JSA headquarters and show her a bunch of cool stuff only to tell her "let's never be a part of this?" Why is the HQ in Blue Valley, Nebraska? Why did he leave the Thunderbolt pen right where anyone could take it? Shouldn't he have given it to someone who could protect it or at least bury it somewhere?

We find out Icicle is the real leader of the Injustice Society, he apparently has a plan to battle social injustice and maybe that's where they got the name? He did kill Pemberton so it makes sense that he's the big bad but they sure made it seem like Brainwave was the main baddie in the first two episodes.

Icicle kills Wizard's son and then when the Wizard comes armed with his magic wand to ask him about it, kills the Wizard and steals the wand. That's cold. Good thing he didn't come in shooting. Good thing ice can render the wand useless. Icicle's parents and son are down with murder, I guess. Creepy.

Courtney breaks back into the JSA HQ and steals all their power artifacts (or costumes) and plans to recruit new kids to become the new JSA. Is she going to blind Beth so she can be the new Dr. Mid-Night? Will she train Yolanda to box since she never met Ted Knight?

So many questions, this show. I'm not the hugest fans of Geoff Johns' comic book writing but this stuff feels much, much sillier. I guess because it's aimed at the young-adult crowd on the CW?



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