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Superman's Pal

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Superman's Pal

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,803
Subj: Ep 6 & 7 "The Justice Society" & "Shiv Part One"
Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 at 05:35:57 pm CDT (Viewed 467 times)
Reply Subj: CW's Stargirl "Pilot"
Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 at 07:23:55 pm CDT (Viewed 825 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.

S01E06 "The Justice Society"

Pat finally learns that Courtney has stolen the JSA costumes and power artifacts to hand out willy-nilly to a bunch of teens she just met days before, and isn't too happy about it. Finally a scene where the characters act somewhat realistically. It won't last.

Courtney tries to get the swag back from Yolanda, Beth and Rick but they won't give it up, it's too important to them now, and they make a decent case for it. And the show makes a decent case for a teenage JSA since the Injustice Society is finally on the move and all those power artifacts are just sitting around collecting dust; somebody should put them to use. Maybe it would have been better if Pat had found some responsible adults instead of teens to become new heroes but that's water under the bridge.

We finally see the semi-friendly Larry "Crusher" Crock in full on beast mode, with his wife Paula, murdering the high school football coach after he benched their daughter for bad sportsmanship. Soon they are called back into action by the ISA and we get to see Sportsmaster and Tigress in all their glory. I'm curious to hear what today's teens think of a villain called Sportsmaster who uses sporting goods as weapons, I always thought it was pretty cheesy in a good way.

Basically Beth's magic Mid-Nite goggles warn them that an evil hacker, the Gambler, is trying to do something nasty on the internet so they ought to go stop him. Stargirl, Wildcat, Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite finally team up in costume to put a stop to some evil hacking. Sportsmaster and Tigress show up to defend the Gambler and kill the kids. At least Courtney has a super Staff that can do anything like a Green Lantern ring practically, Yolanda was already a trained boxer, and Rick is just a tough kid with a chip on his shoulder; but then there's Beth who is more of a frail computer nerd who seems terribly out of place in a fight scene. I guess that's why they amped up her gimmick with an AI that can think its way out of any situation.

This kind of begs a couple of questions: First, if the original JSA were so powerful, experienced and skilled, then how did the ISA manage to kill them all in one night? And if they did, how will an untrained, inexperienced new JSA hope to beat them?

I was wrong before, the title card at the beginning of episode one made me think the JSA had only been active for a decade, and then was killed a decade ago, so they were only active from 2000-2010. But it did say 'decades' plural and we see that McNider was born in 1914, I think it said, making him almost 100 years old during the 2010 fight scene, so they may very well have fought in WWII still. Which must mean the old JSA did indeed have some of that Ian-Karkull-granted 'added vitality' or a CW equivalent since they all looked to be in their 40s. I wonder if Pat and Sylvester fought the Nebula Man in the 1940s and were brought to this time period like in the comics? But if superheroes have been active for that long on this world, shouldn't the whole town be swarming with metas?

Another question is that once the original JSA were out of the way, why didn't the Injustice Society take over the world right then? Or whatever they're planning to do. I guess the 'New America' plan required them to all set up fake identities in Blue Valley, Nebraska and hang out for 10 years before they could pull the trigger on their plan. The pilot episode showed us that Pat pulled up roots in California to move the family out to Blue Valley probably because he discovered the ISA were there. But then why did the JSA HQ also just happen to be there?

S01E07 “Shiv Part One”

After an unsuccessful training session, the team splits apart for the day. We find out that Mike is jealous of all the time Courtney is spending with his Dad. Henry King Jr. is hearing peoples’ thoughts the way his dad used to and can’t handle going to prom with Cindy, the bully girl with the skunk-streak. Cindy gets partnered up with Courtney in science class and for a second, they might become friends. But then Courtney blows off her after-school invite because she gets asked to prom by some guy.

We follow an increasingly angry Cindy back to her strange home life with a stepmom who seems like a captive and her dad, the Dragon King, running evil experiments in his lair. She eyeballs a supersuit that belonged to her bio-mom but dad says she’s not ready for it. Mad at dad, she steals it anyway.

It all leads to Stargirl fighting Cindy and burning her face off with the Cosmic Staff! Luckily Cindy has a Wolverine healing-factor (or does that attribute belong to the suit?) She ends up stabbing Stargirl and leaving her for dead (holy cliffhanger!) That shifty-looking school janitor comes out with a sword and scares Cindy away and we realize (or maybe realized last episode) that he’s Sir Justin, The Shining Knight (former teammate of Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy in the Seven Soldiers of Victory, let’s see if they make that reference!)

Barbara gets a promotion or a project at least, so now she’ll be working directly for Icicle in his shell company, hopefully she’ll get something to do.

I didn’t realize until just now that James Dale Robinson who has been credited on this series is the same James Robinson from DC Comics who wrote a long run on “Starman” in the 1990s with Jack Knight, invented the Cosmic Staff (based on the older Cosmic Rod and belt) and of course tied all Starmen past and present into one lineage: Ted Knight, Batman/Starman 1951, Mikaal Tomas, Prince Gavyn, Will Payton, Jack Knight, Thom Kallor, and finally Courtney Whitmore. He’s also the one who put Ted Knight in a mental asylum back in "The Golden Age." Thanks, James.

And of course Robinson and Johns were the ones who started the modern JSA comic in 1999 so they bring a lot of comics’ knowledge to this series, let’s hope it pays off!

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