A speedster, a trickster and superhero girls! Movies and TV

Wow, this season of the CW’s FLASH was really disappointing. It started off well with Team Flash wrapping up last season’s battle against the female Mirror Master despite Barry losing his speed. Then we launch into the main plot of the season and things tanked.

It turns out that in reviving the Speed Force, Barry also created the Strong, Sage and Still forces, all of which have hostile avatars. A minor flaw is that the names make no sense: the avatar Psych makes people face their worst fear, which hardly fits “sage” and “still” for a Time Force (because he can stop time and make things still, get it?) isn’t much better. A bigger problem is that the arc never really had any juice. Neither did the B-plots. Kramer (Carmen Moore), a hardline anti-meta cop, brings in Killer Frost despite her having reformed. The show makes a big deal about Frost getting a life sentence, but a couple of episodes later she performs some heroics and presto, out of jail.

The final plotline, with an army of Godspeed clones terrorizing the city, might have worked if it had space to breathe (due to the pandemic, this was a truncated season). Then again, Karan Obaroi as Godspeed simply can’t pull off megalomaniacal rants about his absolute power the way Tom Cavanaugh as Thawne can; I honestly don’t care what’s going through Godspeed’s head, as he’s a pale clone of the comics’ Savitar. The final battle with Godspeed, Thawne and Flash using light-sabers made out of Speed Force is just silly. And Cisco’s replacement Chester (Brandon McKnight) so far doesn’t have the same sparkle. “We are here to celebrate the greatest sequel since The Empire Strikes Back!”

TRICKSTER was a 2020 Canadian show about Jared (Joel Oulette), a teenage Native American living on the “Rez,” and struggling to support his shiftless, prone-to-bad-decisions Mom (Crystle Lightning). Weird things start happening, the weirdest being that Jared’s birth father turns up (Kalani Queypo) turns up, claiming they’re both Tricksters and Jared might have inherited his powers. And Dad is far from the only supernatural force moving through Jared’s life … I enjoyed this, though I wasn’t hooked on it. However the reveal the show runner had lied about having Native American ancestry seems to have made the show toxic; it ended after six episodes and nobody’s picking it up. “The purpose of life isn’t to share it with someone — the purpose of life is simply to survive.”

DC SUPERHERO GIRLS is a series of animated web shorts that has also broadened into graphic novels and some movie-length toons. In Intergalactic Games (2017), Superhero High hosts an interplanetary athletic contest against the snotty students of Sinestro’s Korugar Academy (Blackfire, Lobo and Maxima among them) only to have the Female Furies of the Apokalips Magnet School demand a seat at the table. A further complication is high school IT tech Lena Thurol’s desire to go on an anti-meta crusade (“I’ve tried everything to be one of you — radiation, chemical baths, mutation drugs — none of it worked!”). Suffers from having a bland set of voices compared to the Dini/Timm films, but still fun. “We Female Furies called earworms ‘ear snakes’ — because better you be bit by a snake than Granny catch you singing!”

Legends of Atlantis (2018) has dimensional exiles Mera and her sister Siren stealing a Mystical McGuffin from the school that Siren assures Mera will let them make a home in Atlantis — but leaves out that it will also let Siren conquer the world. As a result Wonder Woman has to face her worst fear, Supergirl and Batgirl switch powers and skill sets and Harley tries convincing new student Raven to have faith in herself. “May I be excused from class so that I can draw up a plan for keeping this book from falling into evil hands and contributing to our total destruction?”

#SFWApro. Cover by Allen Milgrom, all rights remain with current holder.

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