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SPONSES 2014-01 (Jan)

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is my belated review of "Young Justice: Invasion", which I decided to do as an overall comment rather than an episode-by-episode review (while the episodes felt complete within themselves, they also felt so much like a larger whole that it might work better this way - plus, I watched them long enough ago that I don't think I could keep the individual episodes distinct from each other in my memory).

We start with the infamous and controversial Time Skip, which I remember upset a lot of people because of the major changes to the familiar cast. It took a while for me to fully adjust to it - but one that made some sense. (In particular, I thought it fitted a major part of the story, about the alien trial. It's a big universe, and even in a DC Comics setting where you've got aliens equipped with super-technology able to get from one solar system to another in less than six months, it would still take a while for the fallout from the Justice League's attack on Rimbor to reach Earth.)

My favorite new characters in the second season were Jamie (especially how he's plagued with a Beetle with a ruthless streak that he has to keep arguing with - and worse, since he's the only one who can hear it, those arguments seem odd to anyone within earshot) and G. Gordon Godfrey (memorably voiced by Tim Curry - and what a delight! I thought it a good thing that Goliath and his clan don't live on Earth-16, since I could guess what Godfrey would be saying about them - and we probably don't need to confuse the audience further about whether the gargoyles are from outer space). It was even more of a delight when Godfrey, after lambasting the Justice League for all its secrets, does the same to the Reach near the end; (And his showing up on Apokolips in the final scene suggests that there's more to him than an opinionated talk show host.)

I can't remember all the details that I enjoyed after this time, but a few things:

1. The Krotoleans (or is it Kroloteans- I can't remember which) method of disguising themselves as humans reminded me of the animated adaptation of "Men in Black", though I don't know if that was an influence.

2. I got a kick out of the "Jabberwocky" quotes used to confuse aliens in the second episode.

3. Superman's big moment, trying to rescue the Krotoleans from the explosion - and failing because of their dislike and distrust of him.

4. As the Justice Leaguers prepare to depart for Rimbor, Martian Manhunter asking Miss Martian to look after the plants in his apartment while he's away. It's ironic that such a natural, everyday, down-to-earth moment is coming from a couple of Martians.

5. The original Roy Harper was shown convalescing at a hospital called "Royal Memorial"; I wondered why a hospital in (presumably) the U.S. would have "Royal" in its name (unless it was a surname and not "royal" in the usual adjective sense).

6. One of the funniest moments; Captain Cold learning the hard way that you should never rob a bank across the street from a super-heroine wedding shower.

7. Despite Black Manta being one of the villains (and a new member of the Light, at that), I found his love for his son touching. The moments that most stood out to me was when he was praising Kaldur for not taking credit for the success of a mission when it hadn't been due to his own efforts, and how, when he learns that Kaldur had been really a double agent, his first response is, not anger (though that comes later), but grief and devastation.

8. I think that the episode that introduces Bart/Impulse needs to be watched twice - the second time, after you know that his behaving like an oddball time traveling tourist is just an act and that he has far more serious motives. (The other things that most stood out to me in this episode was Central City having a monument that looked a lot like the Gateway Arch - being a St. Louisan, I'd naturally pick up on that - which, alas, gets destroyed in the battle with Neutron, Bart's constant use of "Spoilers!" a la River Song in "Doctor Who", and, my favorite:

FLASH (changing into his uniform and running off): Back in a flash!

BART: Does he say that often?


I have mixed feelings about this being the last season. On the one hand, the revelation at the end of the Light being allied with Darkseid means that we could really have had an exciting third season. On the other, the ending felt so perfectly "full circle", with the Team floating down to welcome the returning Justice League members as an echo of the ending of the opening two-parter at the start of Season One, and the Team now having full access to the Watchtower; it's come of age.

At any rate, even though I'm not much of a DC Comics buff, I thought that this was a good series, and would like to thank you for it - and wish you well on future projects.

Greg responds...

It's Kroloteans.

And thank you!

(You know, I've only JUST noticed that I've made it to the November questions. Felt like I'd never get through all the posts from back in March. Now, suddenly, I'm only a couple months behind instead of nearly a year. It's quite a relief.)

Response recorded on January 07, 2014

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Alexia writes...

When The Team heads to other countries for missions, do they leave their passports behind and skip customs as they Zeta straightaway to a location inside the country? So that would mean they cannot get caught by the authorities since they'll be technically illegal immigrants, right? The thought of that is really cool.

Greg responds...

Um… I honestly haven't thought about it. I'd need to, I guess, to truly answer the question, but in the meantime, if you like your interpretation: run with it! ;)

Response recorded on January 07, 2014

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Superboy fan writes...

Greg, I watched young justice religiously every week until it's end. But I have to admit as a Superboy fan I was disappointed deeply in Invasion. In the second season everyone of the main 6 seemed like they had a role. Artemis, Nightwing, Kaldur and Wally had their secret and Wally his eventual death. M'gann had her abuse of her powers. Superboy's plot was essentially looking sad at everything and getting beaten up every time he was put on screen to the point I started cringing whenever he appeared on screen because I knew he wouldn't do anything effective against the villain of the day.

It was especially apparent in Summit where we get to see nearly every member of the team get to do something awesome and Superboy instantly gets slapped down by black Beetle before he gets his chance when just moments earlier M'gann and Artemis held off their own against him. Il

It just seemed after a certain point you were just picking on the guy.

And relatedly I have to admit I come from home where my mother was very abusive to me and my father so I admit that colors my bias somewhat but I noticed a few other people spotting the parallels as well. But basically M'gann and Conner's relationship dynamic shift seemed incredibly abusive to me. M'Gann's decision to try to erase his memory and abuse the power she had over him and then his reaction to hide what she did to him instead of telling anyone because he still loved her and doesn't want to get her in trouble over him hit a little too close to home. And instead of being apologetic in the slightest she runs off to another guy. So I admit I was hoping all season that Conner would eventually confess to anyone what she did to him and get some kind of support system and the two would eventually become friends again but no longer lovers. So I have to admit their semi-getting back together in Endgame brought me much disappointment. It just seemed like Conner's character stagnated while she dated a rebound guy and realized he was right and it's be okay because he was always there waiting for her. When it seems like he's much better off without her.

Greg responds...

You know, no matter who your favorite character is, you're going to feel he or she was short-changed. I get folks upset with us over Wally's lack of screen time, over Nightwing's lack of action, and so on and so on...

For you it's Superboy. And I get that. I don't agree with your assessment of how we did use him, but there's no doubt he took a backseat in the second half of the second season. Invasion, as I've repeated ad nauseum, was plot-driven, and his role ebbed and flowed with that plot.

So, no, we were no more picking on Superboy than - as another recent poster claimed - we were picking on Kid Flash. We love both characters. Sometimes we showed them in favorable lights, sometimes we didn't. The fact that you focus on the negative may be a fault with our execution, but it certainly doesn't match with our intent.

As for Conner and M'gann: you flat-out don't know where that would have gone. Best not to make assumptions.

Response recorded on January 07, 2014

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meksters writes...

Hi Greg! I'm such a huge fan of the show! I have a few questions that I hope you can answer.

1) In an early interview you and Brandon did before the show's release there were a few posters of the characters saying things like "Sweet Sixteen" and "First Date". Who was Wally carrying in the "first date" poster?
2) Will the unaired pilot episode ever be released?
3)If Brandon hadn't suggested Wally and Artemis being together, would Wally have had a different love interest or not at all? Perhaps the one in the poster?

Thank you for answering my questions and again, I'm a huge fan of the show!

Greg responds...

1. No one specific.

2. What are you talking about? The pilot definitely aired, and it's available on DVD.

3. There's no way of knowing...

Response recorded on January 07, 2014

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is a sort of late review of the latter fourteen episodes of the first season of "Young Justice" (which I saw several months ago, but had to wait until now to comment on). Since you've already read lots of reviews, I'll stick to the moments that most won my attention, rather than overall comments.

ALPHA MALE: The opening reminded me of an English teacher I had in college who used to joke that he believed in "the right to arm bears" - give the animals the opportunity to shoot back at the hunters.

I liked Captain Marvel's depiction of a ten-year-old boy in an adult super-powered body (and it explained so beautifully why he was so eager to hang out with the Team).

Among my favorite moments: "One word - souvenir." "Two words - gorilla lice." And Brain telling Captain Marvel that he'd have been better off with the invulnerability of Achilles than his courage. (Good point - you'd have a hard time extracting his brain through a hole in his heel.)

REVELATION: One of the highlights, Joker saying "Retributionable! That last one might not be a word, so sue me!" (Both Batman's protege and his arch-enemy engage in word coining.)

HUMANITY: I understand that the Red Tornado arc in this season was based on a mini-series comic you were going to write, but which DC Comics cancelled - and I'm glad that you were able to salvage it for "Young Justice". I thought it was effective, with Red Tornado persuading his two fellow robots to help.

FAILSAFE: I knew already (coming to this part of the series late) that this one was an illusion - sort of the "Young Justice" counterpart to "Future Tense", but still found it good watching. I spotted a monument in Central City getting blown up by the aliens that looked a lot like the Gateway Arch here in St. Louis. (More on that when I get to "Young Justice: Invasion".)

DISORDERED: The team's sessions with Black Canary were great, but my favorite was Wally's - eating popcorn, apparently undisturbed until she mentioned Artemis's "death" in the scenario.

And I shared Superboy's astonishment that Sphere was a she. (I never even thought of it having a gender.)

SECRETS: I'm tempted to wonder what particular sword the Sword of Beowulf was. The best candidate in the poem was the ancient sword, forged by giants, that he found in Grendel's lair, except the blade dissolved when he used it to behead Grendel. Of course, I'm probably overthinking it. I liked the notion of its scabbard being (apparently) Grendel's arm - and the notion that "pure of heart" didn't have to mean "pure good".

Marvin tries pulling a Martian landing prank on Halloween, around 75 years after Orson Welles - and Miss Martian gives him a dose of his own medicine (complete with an impersonation of the Martian from "Loony Tunes").

MISPLACED: Another of my favorite parts: the allusions to the Pied Piper and Roanoke in the spell that splits the world in two.

Artemis mangling all those nursery rhymes was hilarious (though I read a comment that it might suggest, underneath, some dark hints about the kind of childhood she'd had).

Captain Marvel's alter ego being a small boy comes in handy (I liked the bit about Billy Batson having the courage of Billy Batson - though he quickly showed that that could be impressive).

I know it's from the source material, but still - when I heard Captain Marvel cry "Speed of Mercury! Power of Zeus!", I thought "Shouldn't that be 'Speed of Hermes! Power of Zeus!' or 'Speed of Mercury! Power of Jupiter!'" (This must say a lot about me - I'm reviewing a cartoon based on DC Comics, and I focus more on the mythological references than on the DC elements. Stems from growing up reading a lot more Greek and Norse mythology than super-hero comics. I remember also thinking that Wotan's name ought to be pronounced with a v rather than a w, like his Wagnerian namesake - but of course, I don't know if the character actually was named after the Wotan of the Ring Cycle and Germanic myth.)

And some ingenious scheming by the Light - splitting the two worlds to create the perfect diversion by which to steal that starfish piece (with Commissioner Gordon even calling the mob protest a distraction, without realizing how right he was). And with Zatara paying the permanent price to become Doctor Fate for good.

COLDHEARTED: One of Wally's finest moments (and I was delighted to see him choose the pouch he carried Perdita's heart in for the souvenir, over the swordstick, at the end).

I did wonder whether the schools would have been closed anyway on November 11, even without the continent-wide blizzard, because of Veterans' Day.

I was amused to notice the Space Needle in the background in the "establishing shot" for the hospital in Seattle - following the unwritten rule in television that if you're setting part of the story in a city with a famous landmark, to get a shot of the landmark somewhere (as in a few shots of the Statue of Liberty in New York in "Gargoyles" - not to mention the Houses of Parliament in the visits to London, the Eiffel Tower in the visits to Paris, the Sydney Opera House in the Sydney scene in "Bad Guys", etc.).

IMAGE: Got a big smile over the names of the producers of "Hello, Megan" (which does indeed sound like a likely sit-com for the 1980's).

AGENDAS: When you had Aquaman coming to fetch Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to start the meeting, was that intended as a "Superfriends" allusion?

I got a kick out of Captain Marvel's nervousness once the Justice League started talking about the questionability of children as members.

And the Thanksgiving scene at Mount Justice. I enjoyed the shift through the year in the two seasons, from Fourth of July to the New Year - and vice versa in the second season. I hope that you'll get to do more such seasonal cycles in future projects (though, in light of the setting, I doubt we'll see much of that in the "Star Wars" project coming up - "Rain of the Ghosts" is more likely, though I doubt we'll see too many seasonal changes in *its* setting).

INSECURITY: For me, the big highlight of this episode was the police box serving as a Zeta-tube entrance. (Kind of funny this was in the same episode as the revelation that Red Tornado's civilian identity is named "John Smith", the alias most often used by the Doctor in "Doctor Who" when he needs something more than "the Doctor" - though I suspect that was just a coincidence.)

I laughed at Wolf curling up and taking a nap instead of staying on sentry duty.

PERFORMANCE: Made a good "calm before the storm" story. I liked Robin's reference to "The War of the Worlds".

USUAL SUSPECTS and AULD ACQUAINTANCE: A good two-parter season finale. The Light were certainly ingenious in handling their mole - who better than the person most zealously searching for the mole?

I'd suspected from the portrayal of the Light that its goals had an ideological slant, and Vandal Savage didn't disappoint me, in his belief that super-heroes were a bad thing for the human race since they made things too easy for everyone else, prevented humanity from moving forward properly and growing up. I liked the touch that he had to call Klarion off because he was too powerful, and might have wiped out the Justice League prematurely if he'd exerted his full strength.

And I smiled again at Red Tornado's response to the team members' New Year's kisses.

The "Young Justice: Invasion" commentary/review will come later this week.

Greg responds...

Superfriends allusion: absolutely.

Response recorded on January 07, 2014

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Jordan Wade writes...

1. Did members of the All-Star Squadron have actual military ranks?

2. Did Ra's Al Ghul or Klarion faced the J.S.A or All Star Squadron?

3. Did the All-Star Squadron ever fight in Europe or Asia during World War 2?

4. Who were all the members of the All Star Squadron?

Greg responds...

1. Some did and some didn't. (Simply being in the Squadron didn't grant them a military position, if that's what you're asking.)




Response recorded on January 07, 2014

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Donna writes...

Hey Greg,

I was, and still am, a huge fan of Gargoyles, the Spectacular Spider-man, and numerous other shows you've worked on in the past. So to say that I was excited beyond belief when I found out you were not only going to be involved in a DC animated series, but that my favorite DC character, Wally West, was going to be on it as well would have been an understatement. But unfortunately for me, Wally's inclusion on Young Justice actually lessened my enjoyment of the show quite a bit. And I know it's almost impossible to juggle all the characters on team shows like Young Justice, so I didn't really have much expectations outside of Wally being portrayed in a respectable manner with whatever role he was given. And I'm sure it wasn't your intentions and that I'm probably in the minority, but I don't feel that was the case. There honestly wasn't one aspect of his involvement on this show that I took away as a positive when it came to his character as it felt his role in everything he was involved in centered around how bad he was.

First off, the main storyline line he had throughout the two seasons was his relationship with Artemis and the majority of that seemed to revolve around how much of a burden Wally was for her in both seasons. In Season One, it was him making her life harder than it had to be and being the biggest reason she wouldn't tell the team about her family ("DISORDERED") because he was a complete jerk to her for no reason when she showed up in "INFILTRATOR" and she didn't want to listen to him run his mouth again. That would have been okay if Wally would have played a significant role in her overcoming that, but he only ended up making things even worse after his one attempt to make things better in "INSECURITY". It also didn't help that I never got the feeling Artemis liked Wally all that much during that first season. She showed no romantic interest in Wally, outside of the show flat-out saying they were going to get together, that led me to believe that her constant belittling and hitting of him was anything more than her genuinely thinking he's a complete idiot and was constantly annoyed by his antics (which falls in line with all the other characters perceptions of him as they thought Wally was a complete idiot outside of situations that required science knowledge, too). The only time she was shown to even be able to tolerate him was when he was propping her up ("BEREFT" and most of "INSECURITY"), and that had more to do with her own insecurity than her actually liking Wally for Wally (while the show was clear there's quite a bit about him that she didn't like). She just liked having the attention and a glorified cheerleader. And she was shown to like/respect the other male members of the team more than Wally and they were supportive of her from the get go, so why would Wally's words matter more than theirs? I also assume Artemis crushing on Conner was suppose to mirror Wally's crush on M'gann, but the big difference is that the show was clear where Wally's real feelings lied ("FAILSAFE" and he admitted attraction in "BEREFT") before he found out about Conner & M'gann. Where as I mentioned earlier, Artemis didn't show much interest in Wally before finding out about them (Artemis giving him her spare breather so he doesn't drown ,the only other member in danger of that at that moment, and making a sling for his arm is no different than how she interacted with any of her other teammates). So I took it as Wally being her consolation prize after missing out on the guy she actually liked and was attracted to.

Plus with the way the events went down in "DENIAL", I took Kent Nelson's "find your own little spitfire; one who won't let you get away with nothin'" line to mean that Wally needed to date Artemis so she could keep him in line because he was incapable of doing it himself. I mean, the episode started out with Artemis and M'gann laughing at how much of a joke he was after the latter couldn't think of one positive quality that Wally possessed to sale Artemis on the idea of dating him. Then Wally nearly got the team killed just trying to impress M'gann. And all of Wally's interactions with Artemis in the episode either had her rolling her eyes at his antics, mocking him for constantly being wrong, or elbowing him for being rude. Honestly, I don't know why Artemis would've even been interested in a guy that the show basically said she'd have to babysit.

Then is Season Two, Season Two, it was pretty clear that Artemis wanted to return to the hero life and that Wally was holding her back from something she loved due to his own selfish fear. And I got the feeling she just used the undercover mission as an escape from their life/relationship and justified it by saying she was needed, which is also true, but it doesn't change the fact that she wanted out. And the only time she even thinks about Wally while she's undercover is when she said what they had was "special" in "THE FIX", but that's when she was trapped behind enemy lines with a comatose Kaldur (after blowing up the Cave and kidnapping teenage kids for torture) and no clear way out of that situation at that moment. So of course the normal life with Wally looked special compared to that, but later she basically rebuffed Wally on the idea of returning to Paris after they saved the world in "ENDGAME". It's like they were only still "together" in an attempt to force the idea that his death was more meaningful than it really was. I actually rolled my eyes when the show tried to pass off that Wally was important to her after he died because she was already done with him long before that. So I felt that Artemis got exactly what she wanted and what was best for her character. Wally is no longer around to hold her back and she got to avoid any possible guilt about hurting him since he's dead. He wasn't so much portrayed as her "partner" but as a roadblock that she just had to constantly get around. And a roadblock she wasn't even shown to like all that much at that.

Then there's his friendship with Dick, which is something I was always fond of in the comics and was really looking forward to seeing it on the show. But outside of Dick's one line at the end of "COLDHEARTED", all Dick really ever did was constantly make fun of Wally and put him down throughout the two seasons. A few superficial scenes of them high-fiving and fist bumping doesn't offset Dick constantly telling Wally how dumb he is and treating him like he's a joke. I know he supposedly told Wally his secret identity before the series started, but nothing that was shown on the show made me believe that Dick had much respect for Wally as a person. And I know that friends tease each other, but that was pretty much all Dick did (and some things like using Wally's inferiority to Barry to embarrass him in front of M'gann in "WELCOME TO HAPPY HARBOR", or letting an all too eager Artemis crush him with the news about M'gann & Conner at his birthday party of all times were just beyond cruel). So while Wally was far from a perfect friend, I honestly got the feeling that he cared about Dick and was incredibly loyal to him (especially in Season One). And watching Dick constantly use Wally as nothing more than a punchline was tough to watch. Plus, Dick telling Wally that he only cared about his souvenirs getting blown up in "DARKEST" just confirmed to me how little Dick thought of him. And for the record, I really do like Dick but he was beyond terrible as a friend to Wally on this show.

Also, I noticed how Wally was ultimately in the wrong when he got into conflicts with the others characters (Artemis in "INFILTRATOR", magic isn't real in "DENIAL", and Artemis again at the end of "INSECURITY"). The most notable time of Wally being wrong was his scene with Dick at the end of "DARKEST" in Season Two. I get it was just to add drama, but Wally ended up being (predictably) wrong about everything he said there and the entire scene turned out to be completely pointless as it didn't affect anything related to the plot. The only thing it really accomplished in the long run was damaging Wally's character. He was just used to make his best friend feel bad about trying to save the world and accuse Kaldur of being a traitor. Though Wally's rant would have been okay as long as he did something about it afterward but he didn't as he just went back to the sidelines. And given that most people view the characters actions in the context of it being a show about superheroes, Wally was already looking bad by sitting out while an alien invasion that almost everyone he claimed to care about was risking their lives to stop was going on. And I get that loyalty goes a long way, but Dick was in over his head and lost all control of the situation as Wally pointed out (Dick and Conner had almost died, three teenage kids, including his own cousin, was allowed to be captured for torture, and he wrongly believed Kaldur was a traitor). So how can Wally just go back to sitting on his couch thinking the woman he loved was in danger and knowing his best friend thought it was necessary that his little cousin was kidnapped for torture? It's not like Dick's never volunteered sending his friends/teammates to their death before as he did it with Conner in "FAILSAFE". Loyalty is fine, but not when it's given blindly to somebody who has shown repeatedly that they don't deserve it like Dick. Honestly, I never thought it was possible for me to hate/dislike Wally West, but I came pretty close after this because it wasn't Wally-like, as he essentially abandoned his friends and family (Bart). And what happened in "ENDGAME" doesn't erase that. In fact, I'd say it made Wally's mischaracterization (assuming Wally did actually care about the people he mentioned in the episode) after "DARKEST" worse.

Finally, there's Wally's story as a hero. In Season One, it appears that his arc was basically about maturing enough that he could become a suitable boyfriend option for Artemis. I already mentioned what I thought was highlighted in "DENIAL", and I think "COLDHEARTED" was just to make Wally slightly less of an idiot and a joke that she would consider dating him. Which isn't exactly the most flattering of character arcs. And I also felt he was portrayed as the weak link of the team. He was the character that would (comically) mess up the most on missions and with his powers (running into walls, tripping over marbles and rocks, blowing the team's cover, and nearly getting the team killed just by trying to impress a girl who doesn't even think he has one positive attribute). He was also the only member of the team that didn't land a single blow during the fight with the Injustice League in "REVELATIONS", but did manage to be the only one to suffer a significant injury. Honestly, Wally's competence in "COLDHEARTED" was hard for me to believe given how he was portrayed in all the previous episodes. He just seemed to be as much of a detriment to the team as a help unless science exposition was needed on the mission. And things like all the other characters constantly making fun of him, the running gag that Wally was so forgettable as a hero that the public could almost never remember his name, and the oblivious flirting with M'gann that made him look like even more of an idiot didn't help matters. Especially the last one as it lasted the majority of the season and there was no real payoff to it outside of "aw man!". Artemis, who only showed interest in Conner during her first two episodes, had a much more extreme reaction to finding out about M'gann and Conner being together. Not to mention Dick's over-the-top flirting worked with Zatanna in "HUMANITY", so it wasn't Wally's flirting that was bad, just that it was Wally that was doing it.

Then in Season Two, Wally's inferiority was used in "BLOODLINES" for some cheap laughs, and as a prop so you guys could show how much better Bart was than him in every single way. And I know you said you didn't think he showed Wally up at all, but I'd say four (completely obvious) different scenes where the show played it up for laughs at Wally's expense was a little much. As Wally said when he had to be carried away from Neutron's blast by Bart and Barry because he wasn't fast enough, he was being humiliated. And I don't think him assisting Jay at the end to help save Barry/Bart offsets that considering Barry promptly interrupted Wally lecturing Bart on his recklessness and gave Bart all the credit for saving him. The episode spent twenty minutes slamming home the point that Wally wasn't worthy of being named in the same sentence with Bart and Barry, and a scene that is pretty much glossed over hardly made up for it to me. Then Wally ends up dying in "ENDGAME" simply because he wasn't fast enough to live to further cement that he wasn't worthy of being part of the Flash legacy. His death wasn't so much a noble sacrifice to me (as I suspect it was meant to be) as it was him dying because he wasn't good enough to live. And being told your favorite character died because they weren't good enough isn't fun, especially when the show already had an episode where it made fun of that character for the same reason they died. Perhaps if the show would have dealt with Wally's inferiority and his thoughts/feelings about it before "BLOODLINES" or in a serious/respectful manner (much like it did with Conner's inferiority to Superman in the first season), then I'd be able to see his death in a different way. But as it is, his inferiority wasn't so much a part of his character and story as it was just used as a tool to build Bart up and serve as an excuse to kill him off.

And let me say again that I have absolutely no problem with the idea of Wally being slower than Barry/Bart or him dying. Those things could have been interesting and meaningful. But I felt with the way the show handled those things, they weren't. You tried to compare Dick not being as strong as Conner to Wally not being as fast as Bart/Barry, but there's two huge differences. The first is that Dick's one trick isn't being incredible strong and the other is that the show didn't pound home that fact over and over in a comedic fashion the way it did with Wally and the Allen's in "BLOODLINES". Wally being slower is only a big issue because you guys made it one with how you handled it. And I truly believe you don't think you guys implied that Wally was a lesser hero or not good enough because he's slower, but I do know my two kids (11 and 8) now think that Impulse/The Flash are awesome and that Kid Flash is "a loser" thanks to that episode (Young Justice was their first real experience with the DC universe). I also think simply leaving the Allen's out (or not having them be directly involved) of Wally's death scene would've been a more than satisfying conclusion for his character. That way you guys still would have gotten your death and made it about what Wally could do as a hero instead of what he couldn't (and help shed the selfish label the character had). But making it simply about his speed after his treatment in "BLOODLINES", you guys basically admitted that Wally no longer had a role in this universe because he's a second-rate speedster and therefore had to die. Which might actually be true as Wally couldn't be the Flash (not with Bart running circles around him), but I'm not sure that you guys had to be so on the head about it.

Having said all that, I did like Wally's personality on the show (well at least in Season One when his characterization was pretty consistent) and I did relatively enjoy the show on the whole. But feeling like the show was continually telling me over and over how bad Wally was throughout two seasons dragged it down for me at times. And I do get that quite a bit of the things I mentioned weren't entirely valid as Wally was just the comic relief character (they do start to add up, though). But even the important parts of Wally's story (his relationship with Artemis/conflicts with other characters/as a hero/his death) came across about how terrible and/or how much of a joke he was to me. It just seemed that outside of "COLDHEARTED", Wally's main purpose on the show was to look bad to make the others look good and enhance their story by either telling them how great they were (which they never did for him) or being the bad guy. And like I said, I don't think it was the show's intentions to do that and I think I have a pretty good idea what the show was trying to do. But what the narrative of the show wanted me to believe (that Artemis liked Wally/that he was good thing for her/that Dick thought of him as his best friend/etc) and what the show actually showed were two completely different things to me. And I just have a hard time blindly accepting things on a show when they aren't really backed up by what is shown and were even contradicted by what was at times.

So for me, Wally's story was just about how he wasn't good enough no matter how hard he tried. Not good enough for Artemis, not good enough to get any respect from his friends, and not good enough as a speedster to survive or to be worthy of being the Flash because that's simply how those things were handled and portrayed on the show itself. He did have his moments here and there (I loved "COLDHEARTED"), but what little positive the character had was overshadowed by the overwhelming negative in my opinion.

Anyway, I apologize for wasting your time with this and for feeling this way. I really, really wish I didn't. And good luck with your book, the Star Wars series, and whatever else you may work on in the future!

Greg responds...

Well, I suppose it comes as no surprise that I disagree with nearly every aspect of your analysis. Starting with this: we never felt that Wally was a joke. Never ever. We never felt like he wasn't good enough. Never ever. You can absolutely declare that our execution failed, but you can't tell me that was our intent. It just flat out wasn't.

I've written about Wally and Artemis before in some detail already, particularly here: http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?qid=16969

And in Season Two, I don't think Artemis was as 100% about returning to the life as you seem to, and I don't think Wally was as 100% about staying retired as you seem to. Both felt conflicted. And we tried to show that with limited screen time. (Every time we did, you write it off as characters kidding themselves or the like.) And saying they weren't happy together in Season Two - or that Artemis wasn't happy with Wally - literally goes against every time we showed them on screen together.

To me, it feels like you weighted all evidence in favor of your interpretation, i.e. you formed it early and everything seemed to fall in line with it afterward. And the stuff we put in that didn't fit with your intrepretation became rare exceptions that only proved your rule, so to speak. Some examples:

*Saying "Dick only makes fun of Wally" ignores all those times that Wally made fun of Dick. It was mutual and not unlike my teenage friendships with other guys. I believe Dick was a good friend to Wally and vice versa. Not a perfect friend, mind you, but a true and loyal one.

*Saying Wally's competence in "Coldhearted" was tough to believe given what we had seen before makes it sound like we had a single agenda to screw Wally's character over, and SLIPPED up by showing him in a different light that once. As opposed to the idea that we were showing many aspects of his character over many episodes. Showing him mature in both ability and character as the series progressed.

I could go on and on, addressing each of your points one by one, but (a) that would take forever, and I honestly don't have the patience and (b) it would just come off as defensive and (c) I doubt I'd convince you anyway. It's how you feel about the character, and no explanation from me could change that retroactively, I know. We'll simply have to agree to disagree.

Still, I'm willing to take the blame for your distaste for our version of the character. You clearly came in loving Wally, and what we presented didn't work for you (preconceived notions or not). That fed on itself, as we put further things on screen that piled on (or at least seemed to). And on that level, we failed you.

So I'm truly sorry our take on Wally didn't work for you, but it seemed to have worked for many members of our audience, for whom Wally was a clear fan favorite, so I'll have to settle for that.

Response recorded on January 07, 2014

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Endless Strategy writes...

Did Demona and her clan sleep at Castle Moray during the time she was allied with Macbeth?

Greg responds...

Often. Though never the entire clan at any one time.

Response recorded on January 06, 2014

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Liam writes...

Hey Greg,
You mentioned that you visited Tintagel in '81, as part of a sort of "ArthurQuest". I was wondering if you ended up visiting any other places from Arthurian legend. If so, what were they?
Thanks, and good luck with your Star Wars show!

Greg responds...

Yeah, we did, actually. Though I'm blanking on specifics. We definitely saw a version of the Round Table. (Old but not convincing.) And went to the hill where some scholars thought Camelot was. And we went to Stonehenge. There's probably more, but my memory isn't what it once was.

Response recorded on January 06, 2014

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B writes...

Did your cat Iggy ever come back to you? I'm sorry, I've tried to find the answer to this in a biography or interview, but haven't been able to.

Greg responds...

No. He never did. At this point, he'd be so old that even if he survived out on the streets for a time, he would have to have passed on long ago.

Our current pets (both female) are a basset hound named Poppy and a cat named Emmy.

Response recorded on January 06, 2014

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