Tuesday, August 01, 2006

On Second Thought...

You're a comic book fan. You might be overweight, but you don't fall into the stereotypes set by mainstream America. You go to conventions to get good deals and sketches, but you don't dress up like a damn Stormtrooper. You cringe anytime a comic-themed new story starts with words like "KAPOW!" and "BIFF!" Right now, you're happy that your selected genre is gaining more acceptance, and that you don't look like a total dork when you're reading your copy of Watchmen on the train. Well...Stan Lee is gonna set the movement back about twenty years.

That's how I started the thread for Who Wants To Be A Superhero? on the TWoP forums. You couldn't blame me for being cynical. For one thing, starting a title with "Who Wants To Be" went out years ago. The show was produced by Bruce Nash, who brought us such "groundbreaking" shows as Mr. Personality, Meet My Folks, and Who Wants To Marry My Dad?. Look at his IMDB profile...it's like a whole day's programming from Fox Reality. Then there was Smilin' Stan himself, who hasn't been that big of a player in years. Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating The DC Universe? After reading a trade paperback of the first few issues, I wanted to repress those memories.

But last night, as I watched the show on Sci Fi in the wee hours (power outtage took me from the 9 p.m. preimere), I was impressed. This isn't the best reality show out there, but it's far from the worst. The contestants aren't nearly as ridiculous as I had feared. The initial task had a hidden edge to it that only four of the heroes managed to accomplish, leaving the rest to look stupid. The "hidden lair" is kitschy, but swank enough for anybody outside the age range for The Real World. The elimination ceremony is dramatic, as the heroes wait on the roof as Stan Lee picks out three who aren't being "super" enough. Once a contestant is eliminated, that person has to throw out parts of the costume before departing.

As for Stan Lee? Nobody else could pull off his job right now. What other comic book creator has a larger-than-life persona reserved for big screens? The only knock I have on him right now is that he let Iron Enforcer skate on the first two eliminations. Levity got called out for wanting to sell his own action figure for big bucks. Enforcer has a big gun and a willingness to kill. Not exactly Silver Age material, but Levity was shown the door instead. At the end of the episode, Enforcer got another pass as Nitro G paid the price for passing up the "lost" girl. In his defense, he was short enough to hide in his chosen changing area. Still, Stan has given the show a recognizable face, as well as a drinking game anytime he shouts "Excelsior!"

I'm working on the recap right now...I have about a dozen pages of notes, and I'm at the part where Levity pays the price for blabbing his dreams to Rotiart. Don't worry...this isn't going to be a Battle Chasers deal. I'll get the recap up by Thursday, with all the juicy stuff you might have missed the first time. Right now, I'm just happy to be proven wrong.

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