Going Through The DCAU Part Thirty-Three

Hey, look!  Jimmy and Tom watched and discussed some more cartoons!

This time we’re covering “Livewire,” “Identity Crisis,” and “Target”.

“Livewire”

Shock jock Leslie Willis doesn’t care for Superman! But when a freak lightning strike endows her with all manner of electrical power, now she can show how much she has it in for the Man of Steel with more than just her mouth!

jimmy:  Man, she was a real quick study on how to use her new powers.

tomk:  It’s electricity. It’s not that hard.

“ZAP ZAP, SUPERMAN!”

jimmy:  She was incredibly annoying, but that was probably the point.

tomk:  She’s a shock jock. They aren’t pleasant. Good casting on Lori Petty there, by the by.

jimmy:  Yes. If I didn’t know what year this show was from I would have sworn it was Mila Kunis.

I’m not exactly sure of the timing but I’m going to guess this came out right around the time when Howard Stern’s popularity was exploding.

tomk:  I seem to recall that that is correct. She’s a female Stern in some ways…you know, as much as a kids show could do that sort of thing. Instead, she’s just rude, obnoxious, and has no back-up locations for a rally when its raining.

jimmy:  Seriously. Even if she didn’t have a back-up location, you  think that many people would be there in the pouring rain? And who sold them all the eggs?

tomk:  As Batman Returns taught us, there’s always someone who brings eggs and tomatoes to a speech.

jimmy:  Let’s see, I got my tickets, my rain coat, a bottle of water…I better pack this dozen eggs just in case. You never know.

tomk:  Someone could need a good pelting.

jimmy:  Maybe someone will paddle the school canoe.

tomk:  That’s for a paddling, not a pelting.

jimmy:  I know, but that’s what it reminded me of.

tomk:  But before we go any further, there’s a single moment when Leslie looks like a relatable person.

She tells Lois she had to work extra hard to get where she is as a woman shock jock.

That’s about as close to a motivation as we see, especially as she perceives everything as being easy for Superman.

Then she turns to electricity and that’s the end of that. She just likes hurting people.

While getting a lot of attention…

jimmy:  Nice juxtaposition with her speech and Superman struggling to keep the crane from crashing. Also really showed how depowered this Superman is.

tomk:  Also showed how wrong Leslie was about Superman on everything, ranging from how powerful he is to what kind of person he is. I mean, how significant was it that the crane operator was a fan of Leslie’s show before his accident?

jimmy:  Significance? Probably not much. But I bet he is a fan of Superman now.

tomk:  So is that mother with the baby who can’t stay out of trouble.

jimmy:  There’s always a runaway baby in any street scene where things are going awry and there is significant danger and destruction.

tomk:  And there is also only a crowd on one side of Superman catching a crane so he can toss it to the other without hitting anybody.

jimmy:  The people on that side were smart enough to get the frack out of the way when a crane started falling from the sky.

tomk:  Clearly smarter than the people who went to see a radio personality in a thunderstorm.

jimmy:  Which is no implication at all about the intellect of the audience of shock jock DJs.

tomk:  Yeah, I mean…who goes out to see someone who’s main talent is talking? We listen to them, not look at them. I thought that was why my dad used to say of ugly people they had the right face for radio.

jimmy:  Haha, my dad said that too.

tomk:  Though Live Wire apparently doesn’t have that issue given the lightning bolt cleavage cut.

jimmy:  When you’re made of electricity, you don’t have to worry about being modest.

tomk:  Obviously.

I think that’s Watson’s biggest dream.

jimmy:  To be made of electricity?

tomk:  Well, all the side benefits that go with it.

Like being able to put your own mug on every TV in town.

I’m not sure that’s how electricity actually works now that I think about it.

jimmy:  I was just going to say the same thing.

tomk:  And apparently, her true archenemy should be Aquaman…

jimmy:  So I guess it is pretty ironic she was given powers in a rainstorm then.

tomk:  Clearly, the creators didn’t think that through too much, so we maybe shouldn’t either.

jimmy:  Well, they had to get the lightening there somehow.

tomk:  She could have accidentally chewed through an extension cord!

jimmy:  That’s putting the shock in shock jock for sure!

tomk:  The whole episode was rather shocking. Particularly to Live Wire.

jimmy:  We’re starting to get silly now. Anything else stand out to you? Does Live Wire return? Is she a STAS original character?

tomk:  Anything stand out? Nothing more. Does she return? Yes, a bit frequently. Original? Yes, though she did jump to the comics and was even in a couple episodes of the current Supergirl series.

jimmy:  The live action Supergirl?

tomk:  The very same.

I’ve only seen two episodes of season one, but the second was the Flash crossover and Live Wire was one of two villains for the episode, the other being Silver Banshee.

jimmy:  Well, when I catch up on The Flash in about 5 years I’ll let you know what I thought. Looks like we’re moving on?

tomk:  Yes. Let’s try something a bit more bizarre….o.

“Identity Crisis”

There are two Supermen flying around Metropolis! But one of them seems to be deteriorating fast into a new something that can only be described as Bizzaro!

tomk:  Be honest, Jimmy…before we find out who the Superman at the start of the episode was, doesn’t it seem like Superman is almost acting like a parody of himself?

jimmy:  I never really picked up on that, but perhaps. I did wonder just how dorky Superman actually would be to modern kids after his little “The More You Know” speech.

tomk:  Maybe it’s just because I remember how the episode turned out that I knew it was Bizzaro rescuing that kid from the tower, but he seemed a little too earnest for this show’s version of Superman.

jimmy:  I think you already knowing it was Bizarro may have colored it a bit for you. But I see your point.

I’ve read some Bizarro stories, but not many. Most origin stories I have seen have been along the lines of this show. Luthor attempting to clone Superman. But I think there have been planets of Bizarro’s and things of that sort?

tomk:
It’s…tricky. There is a Bizzaro World. The most recent version was built by Bizzaro himself. It’s a cube-shaped planet full of Bizzaros.

jimmy:  What is the pre-Crisis origin of Bizarro? I know New 52 is along the cloning lines.

tomk:  I think, from what I remember from Superfriends, Bizzaro was the result of some mad scientist hitting Superman with a duplication ray or something. He lived on a square planet where all the men looked like Superman and all the women looked like Lois Lane. He had a weakness for blue kryptonite. The main Bizzaro sometimes wore a stone plaque around his neck with the words “Bizzaro #1” carved into it.

jimmy:  And then there’s this guy.

tomk:  Bizzaro is generally more silly than dangerous.

Heck, sometimes he can even be helpful.

jimmy:  He was a hero at the end here. That said…it sure seemed like Superman had a lot of time to rescue Lois and go back for Bizarro.

tomk:  Yeah, now that you mention it…drop Lois off on a nearby cliff, fly back, and so forth.

jimmy:  Yeah.  Actually pretty contrasting with your comments about “goody-goody” Superman at the beginning. He leaves with Lois and doesn’t seem too concerned with what happens. “Do you think he survived?” “Whatever Lois, let’s head back to my place.” Or something like that.

tomk:  I mean, arguably, leaving Lois on a cliff after flying out of the blast radius and maybe getting killed himself when he goes back to save Bizzaro doesn’t help Lois out either. There are some hungry coyotes out there that can’t catch a roadrunner, but a woman reporter isn’t as fast as those birds.

jimmy:  C’mon…we just had an episode all about a race with the Flash to show how fast he is. He couldn’t fly at top speed out with Lois and back to save him?

tomk:  Haven’t you read The Ultimates Vol 2, where Quicksilver took out a slower speedster by grabbing her and then running until she was ripped apart by friction? You wanna see a Lois smear on that S-shield?

jimmy:  I haven’t read that, but pfft. It just seemed like he had a lot of time.

tomk:  True, but I would recommend Millar’s Ultimates run if that sort of thing works for you.

jimmy:  I’ve never been a big Ultimate U fan, but I’ll put it on The List.

tomk:  Well, as long as you remember that Millar writes all those heroes as assholes, you’ll be OK. There’s a lot of incredibly creative use of superpowers in those things.

Much like Millar’s Red Son Elseworld where Superman was raised in Soviet Russia and Bizzaro was an American creation of Lex Luthor.

And now we’ve come full circle.

jimmy:  Nice. Red Son is good.

So, I understand Bizarro’s body (and mind) breaking down…but how does his costume change?

tomk:  I think mostly it just gets stretched out by the body going into that deformed shape it’s in. I couldn’t guess how it changed to a darker color.

jimmy:  The stretching is a valid theory. He is Bizarro, perhaps his sweat is dark, staining the costume.

tomk:  Maybe all that normal skin tone flaked off and discolored it.

jimmy:  That works.

The continuity of this show hasn’t been overly tight thus far, but a nice call back to the fight with the dinosaur.

tomk:  Yeah, well, they had to explain how they got that Super-DNA somehow, and it’s right in the opening credits. Luthor probably sees that dinosaur every episode get ripped apart, so it gave him an idea.

jimmy:  Lol

And those crane operators have sure changed their tune from last episode. Note to self, don’t work with heavy machinery in Metropolis.

tomk:  Bizzaro is doing his best.

Or his worst.

Something like that.

Bad-bye.

jimmy:  No, it’s still goodbye.

tomk:  Yes, Jerry Seinfeld taught us all we need to know about Bizzaro.

jimmy:  Among other things. As for Bizarro, he really remained a hero through it all. Some incarnations over the years have been straight up villainous though correct?

tomk:  Yeah, but I do seem to recall when Alan Moore wrote “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” Bizzaro was characterized as a harmless villain.

jimmy:  I’ve always liked Bizarro, and he’s easy to explain to the non-fan…though just “opposite of Superman” doesn’t really do him justice.

tomk:  True.

But I remember reading or hearing Tim Daly actually had a lot of fun voicing Bizzaro. He was just a fun character to play, perhaps moreso than Superman.

jimmy:  Yeah. Was a nice touch to have Daly do both voices. And made sense from a degenerating clone of Superman standpoint.

tomk:  But here’s a question: I noted earlier that when Bizzaro started the episode looking exactly like Superman, the character seemed almost a parody of Superman. Was that Bizzaro or Luthor’s idea of what Superman is like?

jimmy:  Hmmm. I never got the impression that Luthor “programmed” his mind, so I guess that was all Bizarro.

tomk:  Someone led Bizzaro to think he was the real deal.

jimmy:  I would think that a clone simply has the memories of what it was cloned from up to the point of the genetic sample being taken. Not that that makes any sense from a genetics standpoint.

But, that’s how we end up with things like “The Clone Saga”.

tomk:  I would think Luthor would tell a clone something before letting it loose.

jimmy:  Likely. But how to “program” the clone to “be” Superman? That said, he didn’t seem to know that he was also supposed to be Clark Kent.

tomk:  Which would be a surprise to Luthor.

Cause he sure doesn’t know.

jimmy:  I’m picturing Bizarro now sitting in front of endless screens showing Superman rescues with his eyes propped open ala A Clockwork Orange.

tomk:  Yeah, this is Lex Luthor we’re talking about. He’s not so irresponsible as to create a clone for generally unknown reasons and then leave a terminally sarcastic all-purpose assistant hanging around.

jimmy:  Oh Mercy!

tomk:  She’s going to be paying for that lab ceiling for a long time.

Though I do have to wonder how Luthor planned to dissect Bizzaro afterwards.

jimmy:  Same way he dissected the previous Bizarros, I guess.

tomk:  Were there previous ones? This Bizzaro was the first he let out. The others were still incubating in tubes.

RIP the other clones.

jimmy:  Was he the first? I though he made a comment about him failing like the others. But I could be wrong. But yes, RIP super clones.

tomk:  Maybe Luthor did. He’s just not as good at cloning as he thought.

jimmy:  Anything else or will we say bad bye?

tomk:  Probably should stop here.

Hello.

“Target”

Someone is out to kill Lois Lane (again)! Is it a disgruntled colleague? A cop with a grudge? Lex Luthor? Or someone else entirely?

tomk:  You know, the script for this one had a somewhat clever mystery going on what with the identity of Lois’ attacker, but Amazon Prime actually had the killer character’s name listed in the episode description. Boo!

jimmy:  Well, that’s dumb.

tomk:  Yes. Yes, it is.

jimmy:  That said…I guessed it was Lytener from the second they went to him for help. No particular reason why. I guess it was kinda like whenever a friend of Bruce Wayne’s shows up they always get kidnapped or something.

tomk:  True, but Superman doesn’t have that luck unless Lana comes to town.

jimmy:  So, my first question is…exactly how high do they build roads in Metropolis?!?! When the car has a life of it’s own the freeway is built over skyscrapers!

tomk:  Well, they built it over the ruins of Gotham City.

It’s why Batman needed a jet.

jimmy:  At those heights Superman wouldn’t need to fly. He could ride around on a motorbike.

tomk:  Yeah, we know how cool Superman looks in any kind of vehicle.

jimmy:  Lol. Wow, that is bad. Almost Spider-Mobile bad.

tomk:  Yes, we covered that before. At least Spidey got a dune buggy. Dune buggies are cool.

jimmy:  What is the story behind that…contraption…do you know?

tomk:  He needed something to simulate his powers once when he fought Amazo.

jimmy:  Oh those wacky pre-Crisis stories.

tomk:  Well, Superman’s best known period was those wacky pre-Crisis stories. Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman was a homage to that era.

jimmy:  All-Star Superman was great.

tomk:  It truly was, and it was a tribute to the Silver Age,

And it had a Bizzaro.

But no crazy scientist stalker for Lois.

jimmy:  And maybe a police stalker. What was up with the creepy shot of Bowman looking into her bedroom with binoculars while she slept? That whole subplot was completely left hanging.

tomk:  Well, for now. Bowman comes back in a later episode, though not to mess with Lois.

jimmy:  I get he didn’t want to help her, but his looking in her window was creepy and pointless to the story.

tomk:  What about that reporter voiced by Jonathan Harris (Dr. Smith from the TV show Lost in Space)? He clearly doesn’t like Lois much, gets off the elevator just before she gets on, and apparently wears a tuxedo everywhere.

jimmy:  Does he appear again? The elevator trap seemed like they were using Harris as a red herring.

tomk:  Harris? Not to my recollection. The cop yes, the reporter no.

jimmy:  In an interesting contrast, and completely coincidentally, the same day I watched this episode I watched an episode of Justice League Action which centered around Superman and Wonder Woman being on a date and battles with super villains getting in the way of their first kiss. And in this episode, Lois starts to puts some moves on the Man of Steel.

tomk:  Lois is almost certainly a better match for Clark as long as she isn’t some helpless babe in the woods in need of constant rescuing. Modern Lois still needs her fair share of rescuing, but she’s resourceful in her own right which helps.

Diana, by contrast, well, she’s a princess from a lost island. Clark is small-town farm boy with a job.

jimmy:  In JLA, it’s Clark and Diana on a date and they are complaining about Steve Trevor and Lois being in love with their super power alter egos and not “who they really are”.

tomk:  Interesting twist. Hal Jordan, in his first appearance anywhere, says his goal is to make Carol Ferris fall in love with Hal and not Green Lantern.

She gets mad at Green Lantern later when he stops a missile from hitting the city because they were kissing at the time, and if he really meant it, his eyes would have been closed and he wouldn’t have seen the missile.

But Silver Age Wonder Woman always let Steve Trevor drive the jeep on their missions.

jimmy:  Good luck with that now. Or with Lois.

tomk:  It’s why this is my favorite opener for Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

jimmy:  Why is her jet invisible if you can still see her?

tomk:  There was a direct to DVD Wonder Woman animated movie where Steve Trevor was flying it and had to shoot down some missiles headed for her home island. He hits the fire button but nothing seems to happen. Then the missiles explode. Says Steve, “Huh. Invisible missiles.”

jimmy:  Haha

Those I can see a point of.

tomk:  I’d actually say Steve Trevor is a more problematic character than Lois Lane these days. Silver Age sexism said Lois had to be helpless, so that is relatively easy to fix for the modern audience. That same sexism said Steve couldn’t be helpless, but at the same time, he can’t be the hero. As a result, Lois may have been helpless, but Steve always had to be there and became something worse: useless.

jimmy:  Don’t tell Chris Pine.

tomk:  Surely someone will.

jimmy:  Anyway, this is not a conversation about Wonder Woman TAS. Getting back to it, I love that Superman just Fonzie’s it up and punches the machine to save Lois. Just missing the “aaayyyyy!”

tomk:  Surely that would have to work.

jimmy:  Of course it works, he’s Superman. And don’t call me “Shirley”.

tomk:  And there we go. Robert Hays as the villain.

jimmy:  Seriously? Hays was Lytener? I did’t even realize that. Lol

tomk:  Man, setting you up is harder than it should be sometimes, Jimmy.

jimmy:  Well, you did a masterful job there.

tomk:  He makes a decent villain. Bland enough of a voice when we meet him so he doesn’t seem like a bad guy, but then he turns. Oh, and he doesn’t have any kryptonite on himself, so for him its all about red sun radiation.

jimmy:  Because, that wouldn’t hurt him in the least.

tomk:  No, it just makes him weaker so some scientist guy can smack him around for a bit. Though there was a nice effect when Superman punched back and the energy from Lytener’s suit shot off.

jimmy:  Well, I meant it sarcastically that it wouldn’t hurt Leytener. I don’t know much about radiation, but I don’t think he’d be safe from it because it was from a red sun. He was basically wearing a microwave oven suit.

tomk:  So, yeah. It won’t hurt him, or the planet since there won’t be any more Lyteners running around.

jimmy:  Heh

tomk:  That suit is the sweater vest of supervillain tech.

jimmy:  And typical “normal person has an advantage over Superman for a short period of time so that we have a show”.

tomk:  Lytener does better in future appearances.

jimmy:  Is he a STAS original?

tomk:  Yes, he is. He pops up once in Justice League, and that seems to be about it. All told, he’s kinda bland as bad guys go. None of the spark, no pun intended, of a Live Wire or especially a Harley Quinn.

jimmy:  He’s fill in issue level for sure.

tomk:  I mean, this is a guy so lame, Lex Luthor looks cooler with only about ten seconds of screen time there to remind you what a real villain looks like.

jimmy:  Lex is an icon like Madame Xanadu.

tomk:  Yeah, imagine how much more iconic he’d be if he had Madame X’s long flowing locks!

jimmy:  Just imagine. Well, here comes the silliness. Anything else to add on this one?

tomk:  Not really.

But you know what’s next? Probably the best episode of the entire series.

jimmy:  Oh? I can’t wait!

tomk:  Just don’t say your name backwards before you see it.

NEXT TIME:  Jimmy and Tom will be back soon, same SUPER-TIME, same SUPER-CHANNEL.  OK, maybe not the same SUPER-TIME, but we’ll be covering “Mxyzpixilated,” “Action Figures,” and “Double Dose”.

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