Tag Archives: supergirl

Preview: Supergirl: Being Super #1

Supergirl: Being Super #1

Written by: Mariko Tamaki
Art by: Joëlle Jones
Cover by: Joëlle Jones

Flying and crushing coal into diamonds may come easy, but try popping a Kryptonian zit! Caldecott Honor-winning and Eisner Award-winning writer Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer) teams with Eisner Award-nominated artist Joëlle Jones (Lady Killer) for a coming-of-age tale like you’ve never seen before. But while growing pains shake up Kara’s world, a deadly earthquake rocks the small town of Midvale beneath her feet! The Girl of Steel has a choice: let her world die, or overcome her adolescent insecurities and be super!

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Supergirl S2E8 “Medusa” is More Mother/Daughter Relationships than Crossovers

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While the lion’s share of the advertising and general hype surrounding this episode of Supergirl is about its impending crossover with the other CW superhero shows, writer Jessica Queller and Derek Simon don’t abandon the show’s arcs and relationships for guest stars and dimensional rifts. “Medusa” is centered around relationships between mothers and daughters and family in general as Lillian Luthor tries to get Lena to join the family business and release a bio-weapon killing. On the more heroic side of things, Supergirl works with her adoptive mother, Eliza Danvers (a very pleasant Helen Slater). The intertwining of the family secrets and the passive aggressive sniping of the Luthors thanks to Brenda Strong along with the added side dish of Martian Manhunter struggling with becoming a White Martian elevates the plot, which is a standard quarantine disaster movie or the X-Men “Legacy Virus” crossover without them.

The theme of family is definitely fitting for an episode immediately airing after Thanksgiving, and director Stefan Pleszysnki uses warm lighting and plenty of shots of Kara and her friends and family to show their bond despite “secrets,” like James Olsen being the vigilante Guardian, or more seriously, Alex Danvers coming out as lesbian to her mother. Alex does come out to Eliza later in the episode in a warm moment of acceptance, but thankfully the Guardian subplot is sidelined for this one. Helen Slater is basically a human sunbeam, and even though she mainly plays the role of scientific exposition or fixer of bio weapons, she brings intelligence and love to each scene. This is a total contrast to Kara’s real father, Zor-El, who is responsible for creating the basically racist bio weapon Medusa, which can destroy the DNA of any non-Kryptonians as a last ditch weapon.

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It’s disconcerting that Kara’s father, who instilled in her the values of goodness, hope, and being “stronger together”, created something that could be used for genocide and could kill innocents. Melissa Benoist’s performance as Supergirl is less bright and more pensive than usual after this reveal as she talks to Martian Manhunter about her father’s terrible legacy. As the lone survivor of a world he would have given anything to save, he slightly understands Zor-El’s motivation, but mentions this in passing and instead comforts Kara. David Harewood channels the noble, honorable warrior inside of J’onn Jonzz that comics fans and viewers of the Justice League cartoons have loved for years as he flies out to help stop Lillian Luthor from releasing the bio weapon. He has a passion for good that can’t be drowned out by the White Martian DNA devouring his body even if this disease makes for some nifty special effects makeup.

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In “Medusa”, we finally get to see Lena and Lillian Luthor share some extended screen time, and Queller and Simon make their pacing around an office scenes more tense than Cyborg Superman getting his block knocked off or doing a “super punch” for the umpteenth time. (There is nothing wrong with punching just a character that exists as a one-dimensional goon, punching bang, and waste of David Harewood’s acting talent.) Brenda Strong continues to be the queen of passive aggressive condescension mixed with the cold, hard truth. (Yes, she prefers Lex to Lena.) Katie McGrath pulls out all the acting stops going from being the easygoing friend as Kara “interviews” her to get information about Cadmus and her mother to the cold, disdainful daughter measuring each syllable in venom when her mom decides to drop in. And she is especially entertaining in villain mode with raised eyebrows and a purr that evokes Eva Green if she ever decided to play Lady Macbeth. And Pleszynski holds the reveal that she sabotaged the bio-weapon for quite a while hinting at some dark irony as aliens celebrate red sparks that fall from the sky and do nothing.

And this being a CW show, this review wouldn’t be complete with an overindulgent discussion of the romantic pairings in “Medusa”. Queller and Simon go to the soap opera well and have Kara and Mon-El share a kiss while he is on his “death bed” after being exposed to the bio weapon. It isn’t really logical that Kara would fall for a kind of sexist, kind of adorkable, and slightly cowardly guy like Mon-El, and the “bonding” scenes where they play Monopoly and discuss the meanings of “crush” and “like” don’t really help. He is attractive, but it seems like the Supergirl are trying to do Romeo and Juliet with DC Comics aliens and hopefully less bloodshed in their relationship. It lacks the spark of, say, Alex and Maggie or even Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak in early seasons of Arrow. Plain and simple, Mon-El is way too douchey to be with Kara.

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But, on a happier note, Maggie Sawyer and Alex share a beautiful scene at the end of “Medusa” , which acts as a rousing conclusion to Alex’s coming out arc. It’s kind of cute, kind of awkward, and also very empowering as Maggie finally realizes that Alex came out not so she could be with her, but that she could finally completely be herself. There’s great symmetry between both her chat with her mother and Maggie about finally being able to feel her full identity, but substitute familial for romantic love. Maggie and Alex finally share a long kiss, but it’s the little pause where Alex asks Maggie if she likes her that encapsulates their relationship as Alex is still a little unsure of herself after Maggie previously rejected her. This hesitancy and fear makes Alex’s coming out that much more organic because even if your friends and relatives aren’t homophobic, the process can be a little awkward. Luckily, Alex has a supportive mother and sister.

As Supergirl Radio podcast host Carly Lane astutely tweeted, “Medusa” is like a zero issue or prologue for the “Heroes vs. Aliens” crossover with The Flash and Vibe enlisting the help of their extraterrestrial ally in a battle against a mysterious alien threat. There is a scene with aliens on a ship that seems spliced in from a later episode or another show altogether, but mostly the “crossover” scene at the end is a reminder of Gustin and Melissa Benoist’s adorable chemistry (They give the best hugs. with a tinge of sadness as Barry and Cisco aren’t on the best of terms. And in true comic book fashion, the episodes ends on an energetic cliffhanger as Kara will get to meet Team Flash (and possibly more people) tomorrow night.

With the reveal of Zor-El as potential destroyer of worlds, Jessica Queller and Derek Simon find a real commonality between Lena and Supergirl in “Medusa”. They are both daughters trying to make something better out of their family’s misdeeds even if Luthor will always have a more villainous ring to it than El unless you’re a disgruntled train commuter. This through line of family, especially mothers and daughters, keeps this Supergirl focused, but some fun romantic, Martian, and speedster detour don’t derail it.

Overall Rating: 8.0

Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, Legends Crossover Gets an Epic Trailer

The Dominators are coming…can DC’s heroes team up to stop them? The invasion begins Monday at 8/7c on The CW!

TV Review: Supergirl S2E7 The Darkest Place Retreads Old Plot Points

Supergirl -- "The Darkest Places" -- Image SPG207a_0140 -- Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Brenda Strong as The Doctor -- Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Lots of things happen in Supergirl Season 2, Episode 7 “The Darkest Place“, which earns its title as director Glen Winter loves shooting in crowded corridors and using almost hallucinogenic filters in his cinematography. Even if some of the fight scenes have that herky, jerky Arrow Season 1 feel (See the Martian on Martian fight when clearly they are trying to save money.), Supergirl‘s weakness isn’t its budget. It’s the way Robert Rovner and Paula Yoo structure the plot going from point to point and rarely giving characters time to breathe or reflect. This episode is about Mon-El and Supergirl being captured and experimented on by Cadmus while Guardian is framed as a killer, and Martian Manhunter deals with hallucinations thanks to the White Martian blood infusion he got from Miss Martian. Like most of Supergirl Season 2, “The Darkest Place” hits some strong character beats, and Chyler Leigh and Melissa Benoist continue to give strong performances as Alex Danvers and Supergirl. However, the main plot is a fast forwarded retread of the solar flare episode in Season 1 where Supergirl loses her powers, and the B-plot is like the first half of Daredevil Season 2 with far less gravitas.

The filming style for the Cadmus secret base is pretty nifty as Glen Winter makes it look the DEO’s evil twin, and Cyborg Superman (The real Hank Henshaw, who is still played by David Harewood.) straight up says it’s the spiritual successor to the DEO with its alien-hunting and experimentation. There are lots of quick cuts and dark camera shutters in an eerie homage to X-Files as Supergirl goes in alone to the DEO base to rescue Mon-El, who was taken captive at the end of last episode. But then all the interesting visuals and brutal hand to hand combat between Kara and Cyborg Superman gets squandered for yet another depowering plotline that only exists so Dr. Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong is still disturbing as hell.) can have Supergirl’s blood to advance the season-long mystery plot. The loss of her power also allows Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain) to show up for two seconds, be a big damn hero, and then leave. The response to Jeremiah showing is actually more powerful than his appearance because Kara immediately tells Alex about it showing that they trust each other as sisters. But Alex knows James is Guardian, and Kara doesn’t so maybe not…

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Speaking of Guardian, he and his techie sidekick Winn get the first villain in their rogues gallery, a chain gun wielding, former Navy Seal with a dead wife that is one skull logo away from getting a cease and desist from Marvel. Victor Zink Jr. plays the killer vigilante Phillip Karnowsky without an ounce of sympathy or personality because he’s mainly a prop to have the whole “mask or no mask” debate and give Guardian the requisite “hated and feared” step in his superhero journey. Luckily, Robert Rovner and Paula Yoo don’t have Snapper Carr channel his inner J. Jonah Jameson, but Ian Gomez keeps an even keel on his performance exposing James Olsen’s personal bias towards superheroes in his one scene in the episode.

The Guardian subplot is really paint by numbers with the exception of Alex Danvers easily finding out about James’ secret identity because he and Winn are superhero noobs. (Her “interrogation” of Winn is hilarious.) James gives sanctimonious lectures about not killing to Karnowsky in a terribly mixed growly voice, and Karnowsky has the weak gimmick of only killing criminals, who got early parole or off on technicalities. The bulky mask continues to cover up Mehcad Brooks’ natural charisma, and it’s also hard to have any idea of what he’s saying. The fight between Karnowsky has way too many cuts to probably cover up some of the costuming and effects and is just plain boring as Alex and Maggie Sawyer come in and arrest him. It’s kind of sad that Rovner and Yoo decide to make Guardian a pastiche of Batman, Daredevil, and Green Arrow instead of focusing on how James Olsen transforms beneath the mask, but that is what his role feels like in “The Darkest Place”

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The third major plot in “The Darkest Place” is Martian Manhunter’s sickness and hallucinations of his dead daughters and White Martians. Glen Winters creates a nice visual continuity between his cluttered mindspace and the claustrophobic halls of the Cadmus base before Rovner and Yoo use the sickness plotline to make him a creature of total vengeance. After finding out that Miss Martian is a White Martian through some blood tests, Martian Manhunter spends the rest of his storyline whaling on her. The fight culminates in an obscured CGI Martian beatdown with Martian Manhunter still under the effect of the plague.  And the plague raises a question. Why would Miss Martian give him a blood transfusion when she knew that it would transform Martian Manhunter into a White Martian? The underpinnings of this are left on the backburner for fisticuffs though.

Although filled with some excellent individual character scenes, like Alex going full vulnerable with Maggie in response to her or Mon-El admitting his fear of death while being captured by Cadmus, the overarching plots of “The Darkest Place” feel like a rerun of previous episodes of Supergirl and other superhero TV shows. This and the continuing trainwreck of the James Olsen as Guardian makes this episode the weakest of a stellar second season. Also, the writers tease at a romance between Mon-El and Kara, which is a little disgusting, considering how he has treated and talked about women in previous episodes. However, Cyborg Superman has a chance at being a super cool and twisted villain, especially as David Harewood gets to go all Angel/Angelus and showcase his villainous acting.

Overall Rating: 7.0

Supergirl S2E6 Changing Review and Recap

ChangingThis past Monday’s episode of Supergirl was one of the least action packed but, one of the most emotional episodes of the season. Kara faced off against Dr. Jones who was taken over by a parasitic, dormant, ancient alien. She also had to come to terms with Alex coming out and a less than heroic Mon-El.

The episode started off with a scientist who just wants to save the planet. After being rescued he discovers that his body has been fused with an alien parasite and using his new found strength and power he goes after those he feels are responsible for the Earth’s decline and shutting down his research.

Jimmy and Winn worked really hard on their secret Guardian mission and Jimmy becomes the hero that he’s always wanted to be with Winn running the show from his van. This episode solidified the more prominent role that I expect these side kicks to take in upcoming episodes.

Alex comes to terms with her sexuality and comes out to Maggie and Kara with the hopes of starting something new with Maggie. The moments between Kara and Alex where Alex explains her feelings to Kara is well written and emotional. The adjustment period forces Alex to be honest with herself and  her sister and while she tries to process her emotions there’s a brief disconnect between the Danver’s sisters. I really enjoyed the realness and the path to acceptance and understanding that Kara takes when coming to terms with her sister’s orientation.

Mon-El is having trouble adjusting to human life and uses his powers as muscle for hire instead of as a hero which leaves a bad taste in Kara’s mouth. By the end of the episode, Mon-El has his “great power coming with great responsibility” moment towards then end  after Kara and J’onn’s defeat and joins the battle against the parasite fight after a whole lot of drinking.

Kara and J’onn J’onzz find themselves drained of power thanks to their run in with the alien enhanced Dr. Jones. After a brief recovery period for Kara and a blood transfusion from Miss Martian for J’onn the team is back together by the end and stronger than ever thanks to the addition of Mon-el and Jimmy and his souped up guardian suit.

Overall this episode was pretty solid and a nice place filler for the Cadmus story line and the action-packed episodes that came before it. There was a sense of humanity and longing for acceptance and genuine connection. The writers handle Alex’s coming out in a realistic and beautiful way and even with Maggie turning Alex down there was a strong feeling of understanding and the writers created a sense of caring and strong character development

Overall Rating: 8.7

Supergirl S2E5 Crossfire Review and Recap

supergirl25fiThe fifth episode of Supergirl didn’t pull punches and gave us high stakes, action, and some serious fun. Kara finds herself as Mon-El’s earthly ways tutor and he’s not an apt pupil. His Daxam ways make him a bit of a problem for Kara at her day job. We also see Jimmy get in on the action after some alien weapons, given out by Cadmus, turn some  human criminals into a real problem for the DEO.

We also learned more about Cadmus and the Doctor when we meet Lana Luthor’s mom. It’s not that big of a surprise  that the biggest anti-alien family in the DC universe is behind one of the alien-human relations biggest threats. The Doctor’s ends justify’s the means approach to dealing with the sudden surge in Earth’s alien population is a good way to keep this story line going and another way to give us a Luthor villain. While Lana’s allegiance is unclear now, I’m not so sure how things are going to shake out in future episodes or how complicated things might get when she discovers who her new bestie Kara really is.

Jimmy takes it upon himself to go bad guy hunting and ends up causing a building collapse. His desire to be a hero made me wonder if Crossfire should be renamed Rise of the Guardian. Jimmy has had it with being a sidekick and is all kinds of ready to jump into the fray. There’s something wonderful about the writers not have his motivation be Kara. His desire could have easily put Kara into Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory but, the killer writing and execution made it something more which was very refreshing.

Meanwhile, Alex is having some serious issues with her sexuality and her feelings are all over the place. Maggie serves as a good focus point for her feelings but, her alternate position as the catalyst for Ales’s self discovery adds an interesting twist to the story line. There’s something hella dope about the writers not dropping this part of the show and doing the opposite of bi-erasure which is what most comic book based properties tend to do.

In the end, of course, Kara saves the day and Cadmus lives to fight another day, at least until the end of this season. Overall this was a solid episode with a theme of guardianship and mentoring. It was well written, superbly acted and fun to watch. i look forward to more episodes like this one and it feels as though the switch to The CW was just the jolt the show needed to realize  its full potential.

Overall Rating: 9.4

Supergirl, Heroes vs. Aliens Trailer

DC Week is coming! The 4-night crossover event begins with Supergirl Monday, November 28 on The CW.

TV Review: Supergirl S2E6 “Changing” is literally and metaphorically draining

Supergirl -- "Changing" -- Image SPG206a_0103 -- Pictured (L-R): Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers and Melissa Benoist as Kara -- Photo: Liane Hentscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

In “Changing”, writers Caitlin Parrish, Andrew Kreisberg, and Greg Berlanti round off several characters subplots as James Olsen and Mon-El wrap up their heroic journeys, Alex Danvers comes out to her sister, Supergirl, and Martian Manhunter and Miss Martian are brought closer together in a traumatic way. Oh, and there happens to be a villain in this episode as director Larry Teng pays homage to The Thing with an alien parasite taking out scientists at a remote base near one of the poles in its cold open. Parasite (Lost’‘s William Mapother) that extremists can be on both the left and right side of the aisle. Climate change is terrible, but killing human beings isn’t the solution

But Berlanti, Parrish, and Kreisberg  use Parasite less as a global warming parable in classic Superman villain form and more as a way to cause the cast of Supergirl  external discomfort to go with their inner pain. The strongest emotional beat in “Changing” and one of the best character arcs on a TV show in 2016 belongs to Alex Danvers. Chyler Leigh excels at changing her vocal timbre and has great range as an actor going from aloof to happy to completely broken at the drop of the hat while also kicking ass in the action scenes against Parasite. She doesn’t have to speak to show the depth of her uncertainty about how to talk about being a lesbian, or the depth of her feelings towards Maggie Sawyer. The scene(s) where Alex comes out to Kara are the complete opposite of an after school special as Teng uses soft lighting with a minor piano score from Blake Neely as well as getting rid of Kara’s “glasses disguise” for a true moment of authenticity as she is there for her sister. Alex coming out as lesbian wasn’t a stunt for ratings or titillation, but an organic part of development of a character as she strives to be whole in her personal life as well as her professional life as an agent of the DEO. The ending of her storyline is completely happy, but thankfully Berlanti, Parrish, and Kreisberg go the route of Carmilla rather than The 100 as far as tragic queer characters are concerned.

Last episode, I described Mon-El as “adorkable”, but maybe he is more of a douche than a dork. His storyline in “Changes” starts out promisingly enough with Chris Wood flexing his impeccable comedic timing with Mon-El’s reactions to various aliens sending him drinks at the alien bar, which has become the show’s most memorable setting with Catco being a pale spectre of its Season 1 self. But it all goes to hell after this as Mon-El uses his powers to be an enforcer for an alien bookie and not feel any guilt about it. His amorality has gone from naive to downright frustrating or disgusting, and it’s kind of cathartic to see Alex light into him for using his powers to hurt people weaker than him and call him a coward. Mon-El does pathetically participate in the fight against Parasite as he takes baby steps towards being a superhero. He’s not very likeable though, but his role in the episode’s cliffhanger opens up a possibility for him to regain some face in the long run.

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I have mixed feelings about the James Olsen becomes a superhero subplot, and all of Mehcad Brooks’ charm goes out the window when he is covered up behind a helmet and voice modulator. But his transformation into the vigilante Guardian has brought him and Winn closer together as well as added another black superhero to television. Even though he ends up cracking wise in the heat of battle when James battles Parasite while Supergirl and Martian Manhunter are down for the count, Jeremy Jordan plays Winn very seriously in “Changes” as he basically tells James to back off his demands for the Guardian suit. He cares for James and doesn’t want to kill himself while playing superhero. Winn is skeptical about James’ actions and kind of a stand-in for Supergirl fans, who are wary of his arc in Season 2. However, he ends up coming around when he realizes that telling a guy in a suit how to punch and defend himself is kind of an adrenaline rush. Olsen might have the gruff, grating voice of Christian Bale’s Batman, but he and Winn have a genuine good time as superheroes even if his origin story is rooted in the death of his father and his own insecurities as a “sidekick”. Some better sound editing would make the patter on Olsen’s side a tad bit snappier.

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Due to dramatic timing (and probably budget constraints), Larry Teng saves the reveal of Rudy Jones’ final Parasite form for the last third of “Changes”. Unlike the shoddy CGI of a recent of “monster” in The FlashSupergirl”s visual effects artists give him the purple hue of the comic book version to go with intimidating size and scale. The makeup and visual effects team should also be commended for their work on the wounded Martian Manhunter and Supergirl, who look like they’re on death’s door and completely drained of their health and vitality. They definitely don’t look like powerful, adorable superheroes or cool, regal Martians. In the big brawl between Mon-El, Guardian, and this week’s villain, Teng doesn’t neglect the horror giving Parasite a “chest burster” for a mouth that he breaks out when fighting Mon-El on the streets.  His direction (and the writing) does falter a little bit with the quick reveal of a limitless energy MacGuffin that Supergirl gives Parasite to finally defeat him which is even little too much deus ex machina for a superhero show. However, the image of Kara taking on a huge burst of energy that could destroy any of her friends is a visual representation of her ability to inspire James Olsen to become a superhero, Alex Danvers to embrace her queer identity, and for Mon-El to “show up”.

On the surface, “Changes” get its title from the physical transformation that Dr. Rudy Jones endures as he goes from an overzealous scientist to a character in an early David Cronenberg movie to a tricked out supervillain. However, it is truly about the transformations in Supergirl”s well-rounded supporting cast. Some changes are more thoughtful (Alex Danvers) than others (Mon-El), but the episode is another shining example of how Supergirl has reached new heights by focusing on the people behind the icons aka their feelings and not just flying, alien punching, and shapeshifting. All those things are cool though.

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Finally, Changes” is also yet another stellar example of how inspiring science fiction and superhero stories can be towards queer people as Kara finds common ground with Alex in their shared “secret identities” as a superhero and queer woman respectively. But Supergirl doesn’t stay in the world of metaphor and strives for nuanced LGBT representation as Alex and Maggie are at very different places, and maybe a romantic relationship isn’t the best option for them right now even though all the fans want them to smooch.

In a country where the government will be run by a man who allowed queer teenagers to be literally tortured and shocked into “becoming straight”,  Chyler Leigh’s portrayal of Alex Danvers is a beacon of hope and a reminder that you can come out at any stage of your life.

Overall Rating: 8.5

Entertainment Earth Spotlight: DC Super Hero Girls Action Dolls

Inspired by an interpretation of iconic DC Comics characters in a high school setting, who are learning to hone their super powers, the DC Super Hero Girls line of toys is a fresh take on classic characters. Folks can explore their own inner heroes with this assortment of dolls designed to lead to super hero fun. There’s two assortments. One features Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Bumblebee and the second features Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batgirl!

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The Guardian Debuts in Supergirl

THE GUARDIAN DEBUTS IN NATIONAL CITY – The Guardian debuts to lend a hand after a parasite alien drains Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) of her power. Mon-El (Chris Wood) considers a less than desirable new career which then leads him to contemplate his motives. Alex (Chyler Leigh) struggles with a new reality. Andrew Kreisberg and Caitlin Parris wrote the script based on the story by Greg Beranti. The episode was directed by Larry Teng.

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