Four new episodes of the CW’s DC Comics superhero shows aired this week, a virtual cornucopia of comic book-inspired action!
While the CW’s flagship Arrowverse show – The Flash – is still on hiatus until March, the remaining four series returned in full force over the last few days, setting up a lot of interesting situations in the coming weeks. The week included the debut of a new series and the start of a second season that could have devastating consequences.
Before we get there, though, we have the return of two shows that had been on hiatus since Thanksgiving week.
Batwoman Season 3, Episode 8 – ‘Trust Destiny’
Now firmly entrenched as Batwoman, Ryan Wilder has a new set of problems to deal with in Gotham. Kicked out of Wayne Towers by a hostile takeover by her half-brother, Wilder and the Bat-team also have Gotham Police detective Renee Montoya blackmailing them to search for trophies from Batman’s victories over his old rogues gallery. The truth behind her obsessive search comes to light in this return episode. Montoya was just using the team to help her find her ex-girlfriend, Poison Ivy, who was put into stasis underneath the Batcave by Batman before she destroyed the Gotham Dam.
Montoya released Ivy from her underground prison, meaning we now have two plant-based villainesses out in the world, after sidekick Mary Hamilton has been turned into an updated Ivy. With the original back in circulation – and I imagine she’ll be a major player as the season continues – I imagine Mary will be returned to her status as a member of the Bat team sooner or later. I do hope the live action adaptation of the Harley-Ivy relationship between Alice and Ivy continues, as it’s been a highlight of the third season. Also, definitely not enough Alice this episode!
Legends of Tomorrow Season 7, Episode 8 – ‘Paranoid Android’
We finally get back to a Legends team on the Waverider, involved in crazy antics that will no doubt mess with the timeline in innumerable ways. But this isn’t the Legends team we know and love – it’s their evil android doppelgängers created by the evil Ava to take down the team. The latest episode follows the androids in trying to ensure that the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986 Russia happens and the people who needed to die did so. The androids are over-the-top evil, looking for excuses to shoot their guns and hit people until they can’t move any more. And if the androids die, evil Ava just takes out their main CPU and makes them a new and improved body.
Evil android Sara Lance starts to buck her programming a bit – probably because she has a little too much of her original in her, forcing Ava to rework the android into something a little more evil. It should set up a pretty wild battle between the two teams.
I do wonder, though, if pitting the Legends against evil versions of themselves signals that this might be the team’s final go-round, with the show ending at the end of the season. That would be a shame, as the nature of Legends of Tomorrow should allow it to stick around for a while, rotating out cast members for new stories.
Naomi Season 1, Episode 1 – ‘Don’t Believe Everything You Think’
The latest addition to the Arrowverse, and developed for television by director Ava DuVernay is based on a DC Comics character that debuted just two years ago, co-created by writer Brain Michael Bendis. NAOMI ran as a six-issue limited series under Bendis’ Wonder Comics line before the writer added the new teen hero to his Justice League lineup last year. The character is, essentially, a blank slate compared to the other heroes that have been adapted onto the CW.
The main character is a high school student in Oregon who may be just as big a Superman fan as I am. The adopted child of an army office starts to notice some weird stuff when Superman shows up over her town square fighting a giant blue alien. The catch, of course, for anyone who’s followed the CW heroes over the years is that Superman is just a comic book character on this Earth. So much for CRISIS combining all the Earths in the Arrowverse into one. Between Naomi’s world and Stargirl’s separate Earth, Oliver really just combined a small fraction of what’s out there into one world.
Naomi begins to investigate the “Superman” sighting and it brings up a lot more questions than answers as the show follows the arc of Naomi’s 6-issue debut as best it can on a world where superheroes don’t actually exist.
This is one of those series where you don’t really need knowledge of the characters follow what’s happening, since Naomi doesn’t really have a lot of comic book history. She’s essentially a supporting or background character in Bendis’ Justice League and only has six issues of her own. I imagine the CW series can drag those six issues out for an entire first season, and the second comic book arc begins in March to flesh out the character a little bit more.
Really, any character that loves Superman as much as I do is gonna get some love. I’m looking forward to following along.
Superman & Lois Season 2, Episode 1 – ‘What Lies Beneath’
Probably my favorite new show of 2021, Superman & Lois’ second-season premiere once again had a good balance between life for the Kents in Smallville and action for Big Blue. With Gen. Sam Lane no longer leading the DoD, Superman has some issues with the United States government because he’s dedicated to saving the world and not just preserving the “American Way.” Lt. Mitch Anderson, the DoD’s new lead, has developed his own Supermen of America. Kal-El really should have trademarked the S logo so Anderson couldn’t steal it for his own uses…
While I generally glaze over at the teenage angst and even the stuff with Lana and her husband, we get additional family drama when Lois invites John Henry Irons and his daughter Natalie to live with them after Natalie has some trouble adjusting to her new Earth, where no one knows who she is. But neither of those things are the big development from this episode.
Throughout the episode, Smallville experiences a series of tremors, which everyone assumes to be earthquakes. And they coincide with Superman’s powers going on the fritz a bit whenever they happen. It’s a nice runner that gets paid off in the episode’s final scene.
Holy shit, they’re introducing Doomsday.
The creature that killed Superman back in 1992 – hey it’s the 30th anniversary this year, isn’t it? – has made live action appearances before, both in Smallville and in Zack Snyder’s BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. Like in BvS, bringing Doomsday in so early in the show’s narrative is a little bit of a shock, but it opens up some possibilities for a classic second season. The first season homaged a lot of late-1980s and early-1990s concepts from Superman comics, so taking on the DEATH and Return of Superman makes sense. I just wasn’t expecting it so soon.
What was your favorite DC CW-verse episode this week?