Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Golden Age Nugget

Well, it's taken nine months since I first posted about it but finally the Justice Society episodes of Smallville have arrived...

I watch next to no TV but Smallville conflicts with two shows I do like, Shooting Stars and Mitchell & Webb (and The Deep airs at the same time on BBC1 and I wanted to give that a try). As a result, I planned to watch the comedies then catch Smallville on E4+1. Then I saw the trailer, and that was it, I was watching Smallville asap!

To be fair, Smallville's never been great: debuting in the wake of Buffy's success, it was kinda like Buffy with superheroes instead of monsters, but there were usually enough redeeming moments that made it worth following. The last few series have dragged a bit but last year's was a lot better than the show's been in years. What a shame it's returned to its fairly pedestrian ways: other than habit (and Lois), I can't really see why I watch it anymore. Maybe it's becuae it's winding down so I'd like to stay with it through to the end.

So anyway, last night's episode was a BELTER for a JSA fan. I knew there would be allusions to other JSAers but I literally swore at the TV within a few seconds: "Fucking Jack Knight!!" Only it wasn't, it was the Star Spangled Kid with Jack's cosmic rod (in the comics, the Kid inherited a cosmic rod and belt from Jack's father Ted). Obviously done on the cheap, the unseen fight between the Kid and the Icicle (surely played by Rhydion off the X-Factor?) was still effective and JSAers were gradually incorporated.

Sandman was handled better than the somewhat vapid Stargirl, but surprisingly Michael Shanks played Hawkman to perfection, playing the character's barely restrained aggression without resorting to caricature: his conflict with Green Arrow was a nice holdover from the JLA issues where the diametrically opposing heroes frequently butted heads. I didn't like how Kent Nelson was portrayed as unhinged but it made the character interesting and Dr Fate was AWESOME: loved the ankh energy effect and how the helmet melts itself over its wearer's head.

I wasn't expecting as many as were included: references to Dr Fate's wife Inza, Stargirl's stepfather Stripsey (former partner of the Kid) and the Star Rocket Racer were subtle than the display cases featuring items belonging to Hourman, Mr Terrific and Hawkwoman. However, nothing prepared me for the flashbacks featuring a whole bunch of other JSAers: they were uncostumed but it was still cool to see Green Lantern, Wildcat, The Atom and the Flash on screen: less sure about Ma Hunkel as it was funny to see her but I always hated her (as she wasn't a proper superhero so didn't belong on the team!).

Which got me thinking...outside of the Justice League animated series, I think Smallville has featured more comic book characters than any other show. I put my thinking head on and arrived at 28 characters from the Superman mythos alone (though I don't know if Lionel Luthor has been retconned into the DCU as Jimmy, Perry, Mercy were and Chloe is about to be) and another 30 characters from the wider DCU.

Not bad for a show everybody thought would tank within a few episodes!


Rol said...

Rocket Racer???

Nige Lowrey said...

Not Spidey's mate but the Star Spangled Kid's car...back when there was the Batmobile and the Arrowette in the 40s, SSKid drove around in the Star Rocket Racer, which his car in Smallville was referred to...

Why is it I know this rubbish but know nothing about the lince of royalty for instance?

Rol said...

It's far more interesting than royalty.

Tone said...

Like Geoff Johns' Legion episode, thought the first part was great fan service, but rubbish TV. Admittedly I've only got a passing of the JSA, but I couldn't tell who was what now half the time, or why a JSA pilot had been so badly shoehorned into geriatric Superboy's show. Reminded me of the JLA pilot, only less fun and with far better costumes.