FLASH opened Season 6 well with the return of the chinstrap to the Flash's suit. The giant head look was very awkward in Season 5 and I'm relieved that an absurd design choice has been amended. What took them so long?
Despite the misfire of the Season 5 Nora, I thought the premiere did a great job of playing Nora's loss for grief and balancing it with a new season of threats and dangers. Cecile pointing out to Iris that she can't skip over the grief of losing a daughter was quite beautiful.
The use of the FLASH GORDON song rankled much in the same way the use of other songs in THE FLASH's musical episode irked Informant. Once again, a song made for a completely different narrative and for a completely different character has been foolishly repurposed to content that doesn't offer the right fit.
In contrast, SUPERGIRL using the song "Supermassive Black Hole" was oddly fitting in its season premiere. I continue to adore SUPERGIRL and Informant had, in his inappropriate gatekeeping form of criticism, certain grains of truth. SUPERGIRL assumed a direct corellation between immigrants to the United States in our world and alien immigrants arriving on Earth except SUPERGIRL's immigrants could read minds and blow up buildings with a hard stare. SUPERGIRL would have been better off exploring its fictional issues and letting the audience make the connections or fail to.
Temporal Flux once noted that shows like THE TWILIGHT ZONE (or SLIDERS) would tell stories about the forces of prejudice and fear rather than transplanting "Nevertheless, she persisted" into a script and calling it a day. Because these shows focused on human nature and allegory instead of photocopying catchphrases from reality, the stories had greater meaning and timelessness. I would merely argue that ripping material from the headlines is just as valid as indirect allegory and metaphor -- it isn't as universal and it certainly won't age well, but it makes sense for SUPERGIRL given the greater visibility of gender inequality in our world today. But it puts SUPERGIRL is in an awkward place with Season 5: it wants to continue criticizing the Trump administration while preserving the victory over President Baker in Season 4.
The situation is confusing: Catco's new owner sees that Kara Danvers TOOK DOWN THE PRESIDENT with an article last year -- and wants to make sure Catco doesn't engage in any of the journalism that made it a contender. The new owner is immediately adversarial towards the staff who inexplicably signed non-compete agreements with Catco during Lena Luthor's stewardship.
Obviously, Lena deliberately sold Catco to someone whom she knew would be hostile towards it specifically to antagonize Kara. But why would anyone take a job that would prevent them from finding other work in the event of layoffs, firing or resignation? Why would Catco staff, riding the high of TAKING DOWN THE PRESIDENT, agree to such an absurd contract? And legally, it's not remotely enforceable. Once again, this is relevant to journalism where investigative reporting is proving unaffordable and reporters are competing with clickbait farms.
However, there is a lot of strain to force real-world dilemmas into a superhero reality or even a TV reality when in the fictional universe of SUPERGIRL, it's hard to believe such problems would exist.
But despite that, SUPERGIRL is doing a great job of bringing Kara's most rewarding friendship from and center, presenting it with importance and gravity, and exploring Lena's dark side beautifully.
I really liked BATWOMAN and thought, despite the clumsy use of voiceover to speed through exposition, it was effective and sets up a great first season. Ruby Rose embodies Kate Kane's defiance, superiority and feelings of inadequacy well and she performs the sardonic lines and the fight scenes beautifully. She's just as capable as Ashley Scott with the physicality but has the acting skill for the characterization as well. I really enjoyed it, but I did notice that BATWOMAN is clearly edging around a lack of access to specific Batman rights.
Specifically, BATWOMAN doesn't seem to have dispensation to use Batman, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon or even Alfred. Much like BIRDS OF PREY, BATWOMAN seems to have a fraction of the TV rights to unused segments of the Batman license. As a result, BATWOMAN is using characters and concepts that even within the comics were seen as throwaway discards, much like Batwoman herself.
The Batwoman that Ruby Rose plays made her comic book debut in 2006 under strange circumstances. DC had hired prominent LGBTQ writer Devin K. Grayson to develop a BATWOMAN title with a lesbian lead named Kate Kane -- but when the media caught wind of DC premiering a gay female lead, the company responded with a frenzied denial that there was any BATWOMAN title in the works. This was news to Grayson who was in the middle of writing BATWOMAN #2 and she says that DC never contacted her to tell her to stop working and actually never contacted her again and she moved into the video game industry.
Batwoman appeared in various backup stories and was introduced as Kate Kane, a former girlfriend of Renee Montoya. However, Batwoman only truly came into focus in 2009 when she became the lead of DETECTIVE COMICS from #854 - #863 as written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by the astonishing JH Williams III whose amazing sense of design and artistry gave Kate Kane vivid definition. Williams III's work permeates the BATWOMAN live action rendition even though as of the premiere, Kate has get to gain the vivid red wig and crimson insignia. Kate's backstory is largely the same as the TV show, and this led into 2010's BATWOMAN series written by Williams III and co-writer W. Haden Blackman.
BATWOMAN delved deeper into exploring the conflict between Batwoman and the mysterious origin of her archenemy Alice, an origin that was clearly intrinsic to Kate Kane's own origin story. Whatever Alice's secret, it was clearly Kate's secret as well and one Kate was trying to uncover.
In addition, Kate's new girlfriend was Maggie Sawyer (Alex's girlfriend from Season 2 of SUPERGIRL).
However, Williams III and Blackman abruptly quit the book with #24 and on a cliffhanger with Kate in mortal peril. They had submitted a plot for Kate and Maggie to be married. DC approved it -- but then unapproved it. Outraged that a scripted and partially drawn story was now unapproved and that the marriage was now prevented after being agreed upon, Williams III and Blackman refused to continue writing the title.
#25 was written by a new writer, Marc Andreyko, who didn't address the cliffhanger and wouldn't until BATWOMAN ANNUAL #1 which resolved the immediate threat to Kate's life from #24. However, the Alice arc by Williams III and Blackman had been structured to gradually reveal her origin story, the reasons for her psychosis, her connection to Kate Kane, her reasons for antagonizing her -- and the two writers took those stories with them when they left.
Alice never received her origin or a climax to her opening arc. Her story was left unfinished much in the same way Marc Scott Zicree's Kromagg arc was left incomplete and unaddressed.
Another castoff element that BATWOMAN has received: Luke Fox. In the comic book BATWING, Bruce Wayne was shown to be franchising Batman all over the world. BATWING was about the Batman of Central Africa, a police officer named David Zavimbe who took on the name Batwing. Despite some excellent writing from Judd Winick, BATWING sold poorly and in BATWING #19, new writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray abruptly took over, shut down the plotlines of #1 - 18, had David quit -- and the plot switched to the newly introduced Luke Fox, son of Lucius Fox, a boxer who took over the role of Batwing.
From #19 - 34, BATWING was now set in Gotham City with a character who had some (tenuous) connection to the Bat-Family while completely discarding the Central Africa setting. While the retool was understandable, it was also jarring and the series only lasted another 16 issues before cancellation. But Luke Fox has staggered into BATWOMAN, presumably because the Alfred character is being withheld from the CW.
Anyway. I look forward to seeing Dick Grayson's Aunt Harriet instead of Dick himself, the Puzzler instead of the Riddler, Marsha Queen of Diamonds instead of Catwoman, Egghead instead of R'as Al Ghul, Tweedledum and Tweedledee instead of the Joker and other D-list villains. Ultimately, it's not the stature of the characters but what the writers do with them -- however, it's pretty clear that the writers have been given the bottom of the barrel for now.