Sunday, November 05, 2006

Episode 1.06: Phantoms

Here's my weekly review roundup. It's nice to have another new episode, since we just had the third airing of "Timber Wolf" in reruns. It's the first of three all-new episodes (these three will air in reverse production order, so this was production episode 1.06 but the 4th to air).

That Drax was creepy with a capital KREE. A number of people are suggesting he's involved somehow with General Zod from the Phantom Zone; we did see someone there who looked somewhat like him (as well as Doomsday and Faora) but nobody came out and said it for certain.

Lots of interesting items in the script, stuff that the target audience (6-11) would get but stuff that we do:
1. Why does Brainy keep a lead sphere with kryptonite handy? Is he expecting something?
2. What happened to Drax's monsters at the end? Drax went back to the Phantom Zone, but one monster was last seen tied up by Timber Wolf and Phantom Girl, the other was toying with Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad.
3. Computo is the name of the computer system running the LSH HQ. Nope, nothing wrong with that name!
4. Was Drax "born" in the human sense (mom and dad, baby growing up) or was he created? He said he was born in the Zone but time doesn't really move for those in the Zone.
5. Drax is nearly identical genetically to Superman - they're related? Drax is a clone?

Here are the torrents for the hi-def and regular versions of the episode.

On to this week's commentaries:

  • Rokk Krinn of the Comic Book Revolution, who liveblogged the episode again:
    All right, this was another great episode. This was a nicely paced action packed episode. Plus, we got a little more insight into Phantom Girl’s character as this episode fleshed out her personality a bit more. I really dig Phantom Girl’s character. She reminds me of Summer Roberts from the O.C.
    I only have two very minor complaints. One, that I hope we see are more Legionnaires. ... The second is where in the world was Chuck?

  • Posters at the ToonZone forum have some interesting points and commentary. Apparently the Phantom Zone projector from an episode of Superman: The Animated Series looks just like the one from this episode, and Drax's pet monsters bear more than a passing resemblance to Bizarro's "pet" in another episode. Also some speculation that Drax might be a brainwashed Mon-el (immunity to kryptonite), or a cross between Bizarro and General Zod.

  • Matthew at the Legion Abstract raises some very interesting and complex questions about Brainiac 5.
    But [the kryptonite is] another indicator that Brainy's done a lot of thinking about his relationship with Superman. This is something I don't recall being explored in any depth in any other versions of the Legion. Clearly Brainy wants the two of them to be friends--he is, after all, relieved that the Kryptonite got sucked into the Phantom Zone with Drax. But he also thought it necessary to have it in the first place.

    He analyzes Brainy's behavior over the last few episodes and offers a suggestion as to why he specifically targeted the point in time where they met Superman:
    Brainy intentionally set the Legion's encounter with Superman at a point in history when there was no way that Superman would recognize the name 'Brainiac'. He didn't want things ruined by Superman's experience with his evil ancestor. And it worked. But that's a tricky thing to keep not only from Superman, but also from the rest of the Legion, and I'd be shocked if this didn't all come out in a future episode.

    Matthew was also the first one that I noticed who pointed out that the hellhounds were never both taken into custody, since Drax left without them.

  • Jeffrey Bridges at Superman Homepage:
    On the whole this was a pretty good episode.

    Again the absolute highlight was the action and battle sequences, which probably made up 75% or more of the episode. I can't say enough how creative and fun to watch they are. They're still the best part about the show, I think.

    The story was good, if sparse, but there's a lot of unanswered questions. I'm guessing this is because Drax, and whoever he was talking to (Zod? He *did* have a "Z" on his chest, after all) will appear again in a later episode.

    If so then I have no problems with it, but if we never see or hear from Drax again I'll have to revise my stance on that.
    Regardless, it was still a lot of fun to watch and as long as they continue the Drax story in a future episode I'll be quite pleased.

    Just leave the deus ex machina endings in the Phantom Zone, okay guys?

  • Lizard_SF's Xanga review:
    [Drax is] apparently the child of Phantom Zone criminals, born in the Zone, which opens up a whole can of worms which will never be addressed on a kids TV show, such as, "How do phantoms have sex?" and "If you could live forever and there was nothing to do but have sex and all the available women were Kryptonian dominatrix uber-hotties, what kind of hideous crime would you commit in order to get that sort of 'punishment'?"
    Overall, a solid episode, and evidence that this series is strongest when telling their own stories.

  • James You Ignorant Scut's LJ page:
    Okay, this on was pretty good, although why "Drax" was running around with a big Z on his chest is beyond me. ... I can’t say that I was happy to see that the Science Police don’t like the Legion as I think this should have been part of the basic set-up and introduced well before now. It was a jarring aspect of the story and didn’t wring true. I still think that the animation could be better, although I can get past it as long as the quality of the writing holds true. ... And it would be really nice if they were to start cycling in some of the other team members as well.


Jeff said...

Brainy says that all records of Superman's origin were lost in the "Great Crisis", but his possession of Kryptonite (and knowing what it does) seems to contradict that. If the original Brainiac is from Krypton in this continuity, like he was in the Superman TAS continuity, then Brainy may be the only person (besides the Phantom Zone villains) that knows about Krypton, Kryptonite, red sun radiation, who Superman's parents were, etc.

Patrick Wynne said...

I found my enjoyment of this episode seriously hampered by the character design of Drax. I thought it was awful and ugly and it distracted me from the actual story in the ep. I suppose I need to watch again, as I started to tune it out early on.

Lizard said...

My (belated) review is up at