Superhero Weekly: Supergirl’s Mxyzptlk mix, Flash’s CGI Gorilla City and Arrow’s Non-Edible Sins

Spoilers might be CGI.

(Source: The CW)

(Source: The CW)

Supergirl re-imagines a classic Superman villain in Mr. & Mrs. Mxyzptlk but the effort gets lost with a cringe fest drama. Yes, I really wanted to some light-hearted fun this week. I even thought the appearance of Mr. Mxyzptlk (Peter Gadiot), re-imagined as a Pepe-Le-Pew-ish wizard trying to woo Kara was actually well crafted to be a hit. But the fun was overshadowed by two stories.

One, quite fitting, was the obvious reaction of Mon-El at being upstaged by a flashier rival. Yes, he obviously becomes jealous but he also shows his true colours, and proves himself a most unfitting match and at his chauvinistic worse. In a single episode, he regresses back to frat boy status, ignoring Supergirl’s wishes and intentions. Yet, he ends up with Kara in the end when the entire episode is proof he’s not ready for a relationship.

The second one is actually something that has gone on for a while. Maggie and Alex have another silly, unfounded and completely out of the blue fight. At this point their fights seem to be taken out of Saved By The Bell’s script from the 80’s, complete with unfounded misunderstanding and grand gesture at the end. It’s such a pity because after the amazing Luthors last week, I would’ve thought this cringy by the numbers teenage drama interludes would feel less afterschool special and more grown-up.

For Maggie and Alex, there was never a reason to fight in the first place and the grand gesture (Maggie, since it was literally her turn) felt shallow. Let’s try for more mature relationship issues? There’s a ton out there. For Kara, her relationship was tested and proved to fail, by which I mean it was a complete contradiction to have her hook up with Mon-El at the end.

(Source: The CW)

(Source: The CW)

I wanted to see something better, and then The Flash went all Phantom Menace this week with CGI galore for Attack On Gorilla City. I know I’m supposed to have some leniency on the CGI budget for TV series, but the show did a much better job with Grodd the first time around, keeping him to the shadows of the sewers. When it comes to CGI, less is more.

Instead for this episode we go for the big arenas, the crowds and the gorilla armies. It took me completely out of the episode. I was just not invested at all. Didn’t get a sense of dread or any risk to the lives of anybody. The whole Grodd versus Solovar political scheme was lame. The battle between Barry and Solovar in the open arena was not exciting.

There’s a second story as Jesse Quick and Wally West rekindle- Wait, did they really had anything last time? I mean, other than flirting? I don’t recall anything serious. And what pissed me off royally was Wally taking all the glory of capturing criminals by himself. We haven’t had Jesse in a long time and we don’t get to see her capture a single crook. That was such a letdown.

To top it off, this is the first of a two-part episode duo. For that reason, we get a brief glimpse of Gypsy as Grodd’s back up plan. So, other than getting rid of Solovar, what did Grodd accomplish that he couldn’t have on his own?

(Source: The CW)

(Source: The CW)

Arrow brings back a villainess trio: China White, Cupid and Liza Warner. It’s been a while for Chien Na Wei aka China White (Kelly Hu) who used to be such a badass rival for Ollie. Now she’s relegated to D status. I see what they were going with for Liza Warner (Rutina Wesley), and her history with Quentin. But I don’t have a clue what was the idea of bringing Carrie Cutter aka Cupid (Corina Akeson) who has yet to have a consistent agenda and yet she has more comebacks than the others.

But the meat of the show this week was Susan Williams getting discredited and fired via Thea Queen and Felicity. A dirty, but fine trick of hacker incrimination. That was dark on Thea’s part and yet I support it 100%. The other side was the Green Arrow becoming a target of the ACU (Anti-Crime Unit) due to the death of Billy Malone. That was something bound to come out.

So, that cover up – because you can’t call it something else – might become the footnote of Oliver’s impeachment. The thing is, justice wise he’s bound to go down because of it and it would be 100% fair. There’s no way to justify it.

Highs/Lows/CGIs:

  • Not much to add this week, except I just want Greg Berlanti’s properties to research and better develop relationships and relationship issues. I’m sure there’s a lot of real issues that we could have the couples dealt with maturely, and probably over a number of episodes.
  • Supergirl’s Mr. Mxyzptlk had potential. I hope he’s back one day.
  • Supergirl’s Mon-El just lost the little potential he had. Why is Kara hooking up with him?
  • Cool it with the CGI, Flash. Hopefully you’ll impress me with the second part.
  • Dr. Caitlin Snow and Julian Albert. Now don’t die on her, Julian.
  • Quentin Lance still gets the best lines. Nice scene with Dinah Drake (aka Black Canary 3.0).
  • Mayor Queen broke the law. Actually he more or less breaks the law every week. He should eventually face at least this crime and pay for it.

That will do for now.

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LEGO Break: My LEGO TIE Interceptor

The Imperial Navy TIE Interceptor has always been one of my favorite Star Wars ships, which I think is long overdue of a LEGO makeover. The older encarnations of the LEGO TIE Interceptor didn’t quite do it justice. The ship itself has inspired countless other ships such as the Jedi Interceptor and the TIE Striker. But alas, it’s yet to be seen in newer films so LEGO has not released a new version in ages. I adapted a few sets and built my own.

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My LEGO TIE Interceptor

For scale, that little dot you see in front is a minifig TIE pilot. The wings are HUGE.

I know, it’s hardly a MOC and somehow it is. It’s actually a hybrid merge of three sets. One is the LEGO New Order TIE Fighter (for the cockpit and “arms”) and the other is the TIE Striker, bought TWICE so I have both wings. That’s a lot of SHIP to pay but I wanted the extra long elegant wings. The first time I saw those in the Striker, my mind screamed: “Give those back!” Therefore, I committed to use them for my own version of the TIE/In.

Initially I wanted to use the variable configuration mechanism native to the Striker, but I found that it makes the wings extremely heavy and the whole craft tends to fall apart. It was cool to have the wings open outwards thus giving the TIE/In a whole X-Wing look. The cost was way too high. The build needed to lose weight.

But then there was another cost. As I lightened up the wings close to bare minimum, the TIE/In almost became a square with the wings enveloping it as a cocoon. It lost the figure. The wings were too close to the cockpit. The TIE/In should always be longer in wingspan that it is in height.

And so I redesigned the central joint in the middle of each wing. It needed to keep the grip of the arm-brace coming from the cockpit (a mechanism stolen from the New Order TIE) and at the same time fix the wings in place making it stable (at the cost of losing the transformation). The arms also have been extended by exactly one LEGO brick to each side, something that is barely perceivable but adds to the overall extension. The idea was not only to resemble the silhouette of the TIE much closer, but add something new. You can only see it from the back: the wings have gained boosters (therefore justifying the open hollow end with red, perhaps that needs a retouch).

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But I did got creative on the side by adding extra maneuverability using small stabilizer wings on the sides which can move. The fixed wings added stability (notice it can stand without help) and that gave the TIE/In something it didn’t have until now: it makes the build swooshable.

Of course, it’s not really swooshable – not from a kid-safe point of view. The wings are way too big which means you gotta look out for a) furniture and b) other people’s eyes, these wings are pointy! Plus the fact that the wings are designed to un-fasten the same way that the New TIE, doesn’t allow for hard swooshing. Both hands on both wings are the best way to go, but once you know what it takes to disconnect the wings it’s very solid to handle as long as you don’t make any twisting motions.

The effect of the super long wings increments the aggressive look of the craft by several Sith levels. It’s not that heavy to pick up, but it looks as cool as a collector’s edition version which never existed.

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Each wingtip has a separate laser-launcher since the TIE/In has four cannons – plus I’ve kept the two chin-mounted launchers on the cockpit rising the firepower to six. I don’t really load them all up because those things go flying everywhere way too easily.

Is it worth it? For 99.99% of people, it’s definitely no. That is, unless you’ve always thought the TIE Interceptor really deserved one more aggressive reincarnation. I’m just thrilled anytime I look at it, so I regret nothing. I will keep modifying it in any case, since at this point you can still guess out the boxes it came from.

That will do for now.

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Superhero Weekly: Supergirl’s brilliant Luthors and Arrow preaches in Spectre of the Gun

Double-crossing spoilers lie ahead.

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(Source: The CW)

Supergirl hasn’t had an amazing episode in a while until this week’s Luthors. The show made a masterful move by introducing Lena Luthor this season, as well as her scheming mother, Lillian – who happens to be the head of Cadmus. In this episode, both characters take over the screen with a vengeance.

Lillian’s trial goes as well as you might expect. Lena tries to keep a distance from her mother even she requests a visit. That is, until Kara convinces Lena to go see her. Meanwhile we get flashbacks to Lena as a child meeting the rest of Luthor family and playing chess with Lex himself. Lillian reveals Lena IS a Luthor, one that patriarch Leonel Luthor fathered with someone other than Lillian. When Metallo himself is put on the stand, it turns out he has his kryptonite powers again and frees Lillian from her detainment. Supergirl shows up, but Metallo blasts a crane so that she has to choose between saving the lives of the crowd or let them get away.

The Guardian makes an appearance as Metallo frees/kidnaps Lena from jail. Jimmy is hurt (as he well should be), but he’s even more hurt by Kara still trusting Lena. We get a rare glance of the history between Kal-El and Lex when Jimmy explains Superman would still believe Lex’s innocence even when confronted by evidence. Lena has become Kara’s blindspot. There’s security footage of Lena taking out synthetic kryptonite from L-Corp. Of course this cements Lena’s image of another guilty Luthor in the eyes of everyone but Kara. Yes, it will turn out to be altered.

We get to see a very reluctant Lena in conversation with Lillian as she takes the trio to one of Lex’s hidden weapons cache. What they don’t know is that Metallo is about to go nuclear. Also joining them is… Cyborg Superman (sorry the name makes me cringe). The actual weapons vault can only be opened with Luthor’s DNA. Since we now know Lena IS a Luthor that makes her the key. Of course this sounds more like the reason why Lena has been brought along, but Lillian insists she can still have a place at Cadmus.

Battle time soon ensues as Supergirl dashes into battle. In typical Kara fashion, she’s trying to do several things at once – let Lena know she’s on her side and try to convince Metallo to stop using his powers. When that proves useless, she’s trapped by Metallo. In a last minute Han Solo fashion, Martian Manhunter manages to intervene. Kara, J’onn and Lena take off while Henshaw and Lillian somehow managed to escape the Metallo explosion as well.

I’ll save my comments on the finale and cliffhangers for the Highs/Lows. Also, no new episode for The Flash this week.

arrow-s5e13-spectre-gun

(Source: The CW)

 

Arrow finally got political this week. Well, kinda. Sorta. A gunman enters city hall and shoots up the offices, killing seven people, injuring twenty-four. District Attorney Adrian Chase is shot. This opens a debate on gun control because nobody has ever- wait a second here.

Guns have been featured in the show before. Spartan (Diggle) uses a gun. Wild Dog uses two. The military uses guns. All of Damien’s baddies were paramilitary. Vigilante literally uses guns as well. There’s been a lot more guns in the show since its inception. So, why now? Because for some reason Arrow chose this angle. And somehow, I do want to commend them for the intention more than the execution.

Rene gets a lot of highlights in this episode, as the flashbacks are all about his family life in his pre-Wild Dog days. I found myself feeling some empathy for the guy although I mostly dislike him. Also, dishonourably discharged and packing. That never gets addressed again, but he gets to be assistant to Quentin. I share Thea’s disbelief at that decision. Also, Thea’s back.

I’ve become numb to Oliver’s mayoral speeches. More to the point, the show tiptoes around major issues. Notice how Oliver mentions abortion at some point but neglects to offer an opinion while talking to the councilwoman. But boy, did I love Quentin Lance in his one moment as he tells the Mayor to try and try again.

In the end, the councilwoman Pollard agrees to something called the Firearms Freedom Act that both protect freedoms and rights perfectly and- Wait, that’s not the way it should end, right? To tell you the truth, that’s an all too perfect solution. Starting with the name, which is a complete nod to politics nowadays, we never get to find out what’s supposed to be. Is it a gun registry? Then call it what it is. And if you have figured something else, something revolutionary, then we really need to know.

Highs/Lows/Checkmate

  • That Lena Luthor scene at the end. She’s dressed in full black and contemplating a chessboard, reminiscing of the games she used to play with Lex – and win. She moves a piece. This is a wonderfully ambiguous setting in which we’re left to wonder if Lena just played everyone.
  • I know some people are really going for the Kara-Lena angle, and to be honest that final scene seemed to be going somewhere. But on a different subject, anybody else think Kara is this close to revealing her identity to Lena? Or perhaps Lena has figured it out already?
  • Alex introducing Maggie as her significant other to the rest of the team. I honestly thought they’d knew already. J’onn’s response was perfect. “Of course I knew, I’m psychic.” When Alex asks him why didn’t he say anything before he replies, “it wasn’t for me to say.”
  • We get a little scene between Eve Tessmacher and Kara, although it’s all a setup to show how Mon-El is still in love with Kara.
  • Lillian finds Lex’s thingamajig that is obviously a McGuffin for another episode.
  • And we once more address Kara and Mon-El, because it has been so damn transparent that the show wants to these characters to hook up. It still feels forced. We seem to have gone through every romance trope in the book. Can we step this up from a teenage dramedy? Apparently not. Can we at least have Mon-El mature further?
  • Apparently we get a respite. Mr. Mxyzptlk has just entered Kara’s world. Cue the music, things are about to get crazy. Couldn’t you at least give him the hat? Add the hat next time. This looks like the perfect segue to a musical episode.
  • I think I’ve said all that needed to be said about Arrow’s gun control episode, but it bears repeating: there has been shootings long before in this show and with nastier consequences.
  • And please, Rene’s access to guns is obviously illegal. This falls completely out of gun control. So is Spartan’s access to guns for that matter. And yes, Vigilante has a point when he says he’s just like Green Arrow with a more efficient weapon.
  • Curtis and Rene’s discussion of the AR-15 was really naive, and I guess it illustrates some of the public’s ignorance about what is the most popular gun in the US. At least Dinah set that record straight.
  • Quentin Lance still gets the more mature lines of every episode. Try and try again.
  • The whole point was to find some common ground that would guarantee safety without trespassing the second amendment. That common ground, that brilliant piece of legislature that was accepted (albeit reluctantly) was never shared with the audience. Too bad, because even if it ended being up a gun registry, it would’ve been nice to know.

That will do for now.

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