Thursday, August 03, 2006

Who Wants To Be A Superhero? #1: Heroism 101

Looks like I’m back on the reality recap grind again. I was going to write a blow-by-blow of the prologue, but I stopped after four pages worth of notes. For the record, I ended up with just over 27 pages for the premiere. I’ll save you the time: thousands of freaks, geeks, and weirdos auditioned for the show. The big prize: a comic book based on their heroic alter ego and a made-for-TV movie that will air on the Sci-Fi Channel. The judge: Stan Lee, the legendary writer from Marvel Comics and co-creator of such cash cows as Spider-Man, X-Men, Daredevil, Hulk, and Fantastic Four. The goal: to find the person who best displays the qualities of a superhero. Oh, and getting Stan to shout “Excelsior!” in order for viewers to hold drinking games at home. Believe it or not, this is more fun to watch than I thought.

Credits. We got a CGI mecha tearing through a city. The cast members pop up in panels, as they change into their superhero duds. In order, we have Major Victory (caption: “An All-American Hero!”), Cell Phone Girl (“Calling All Heroes!”), Levity (“Air Powered Heroics!”), Creature (“Feel The Pain!”), Feedback (“Game On!”), Lemuria (“Time To Shine!”), Nitro G (“Adrenaline Pumping Heroics!”), Fat Momma (“An Appetite For Heroics!”), Iron Enforcer (“Powerhouse!”), Monkey Woman (“A Barrel Full of Heroics!”) and Tyveculus (“Righteous Might!”). Cut to the group shot, zooming out to the show’s title over a globe, as a giant-sized Stan Lee reaches for the globe. Honestly, who else could pull this off?

It’s a rainy day, as we see would-be hero Feedback with an umbrella. “My name is Stan Lee,” we hear the voiceover. “This was my mission. I set out to find the world’s next great superhero.” Cut to wall-to-wall freaks, none of whom could be benefitted by gamma radiation. “Thousands applied from all over the planet.” Freak, freak, Snake Eyes knockoff, pale bald dude with an accordion who I saw on Reality Remix, guy with a furry bat head. “And maybe one or two from other planets!” Stan adds that he has to narrow the field down to the best twelve. “That turned out to be a lot easier said than done!”

Dark room. Stan’s up on a big screen, waiting to either interview the heroes or send them to the Phantom Zone. Our first hero walks into the spotlight. He’s a big fella working a Roman motif. Stan asks for his name. “By the source of light,” the hero bellows, “I am Tyveclus!” Montage of panels: skinny guy with green skin introduces himself as Slimeball. A woman makes chimp noises before revealing that she’s Monkey Woman. Cut to a dude with dreadlocks and a leather jacket: “INNNSSAAAAAAANNNEEE MAAAAAANN!” Here’s Ice Bitch with the light hair and skimpy suit. Stan asks for her catchphrase, and she gives it: “FREEZE, MOTHERFUCKER!” Very nice. Now we have a big black woman with a pink top, a cape with “FM” on it, and snack cakes clipped to her belt. She even has a theme song: “Fat Momma/Fat Momma/I’m here to say the day. Fat Momma/Fat Momma/I’ll take your food away.” Stan chuckles, clearly in love with his unusual heroine.

More heroes, more panels. Random guy in blue, guy with a mullet, and some guy bouncing around in a pink bubble. Major Victory comes by to do some weird war yells and a fighting stance. His catchphrase: “Be a winner, not a weiner!” I hate him. Guy with a hoop that’s supposed to be a mirror. Random girl in blue. Shot of Iron Enforcer, but we don’t get anything from him now. Cut to a guy in high-heeled boots, yellow shorts and a red jacket. Turns out he’s tarted up as Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop. Either I suck for not knowing that right away, or my brain protected me from realizing this. “I was born with my hairy ass,” Fayebo tells Stan. “My powers were completely unknown until I got into this outfit.” Another hero: “I’m also in fear of my mother, being a Jewish superhero.” Stan has a good laugh. Yet another hero: “If I don’t eat enough humus every day, I lose all my powers.” Stan: “I would imagine that would be the case, wouldn’t it?”

Here’s a lady in tight pants taking about how has martial arts skills. She takes her top off for “distraction purposes.” Note to Nash Entertainment: if you’re going to make Stan look like he turned for a moment and got floored by boobs in one panel, make sure it covers the panel where she takes her top off and Stan’s looking at her. Stan asks Feedback why he’s here. Feedback replies that Stan is doing is the cumulation of everything that the would-be hero has done to this point. Finally, there’s a guy in festive camoplauge shouting out stuff and yelling “hoo-rah!” Stan turns to an off-screen presence: “What the hell does ‘hoo-rah’ mean?” Maybe he could ask Ian or Laterrian.

New day! A limousine with a California “SUPERHRO” license plate rolls towards a mansion. Stan voiceovers that he finally had his elite group of promising heroes, and he’s given instructions to assemble the group at an undisclosed location. First hero out of the limo is a fella in black and red with a triangle thing going. “I think the reason why I like superheroes,” he voiceovers, “is because I grew up as an outcast.” He strikes a pose, and we fade to a comic-like page. Turns out his name is Levity, also known as Tobias Trost, a toymaker from Lakeside, MT. He’s also the token gay cast member (that we know about) with a partner named Michael. Levity interviews that there are a number of gay comic book characters, and he’d love to be a role model for the kids. Better him then Tyler Duckworth, that’s for sure. Levity enters the mansion.

Hero #2 comes out of the limo...he’s big and bearded with some sort of metal motif, cape, and “ROTIART” taped across his chest. Turns out that’s his identity, and his real name is Jonathan Finestone, a business owner from Los Angeles. He interviews that he’s a huge fan of Stan. “I’m just gonna keep my eyes and ears open,” he adds, “and see what happens.” That’s odd...he’s not in the credits. Rotiart shakes hands with Levity, asking him what he does. Levity says that he makes custom action figures. Rotiart asks Levity what he would do if he won.

Here comes Hero #3: a blonde woman in a sports bra, miniskirt and sneakers. Her hair is vaguely reminiscent of Lori Petty in Tank Girl. She raises her arms for a pose, exposing some ribs. Not cool. Her name is Creature, a.k.a. Tonya Kay, an auto mechanic from Coldwater, MI. Turns out she’s a “raw foodist” who drives a car that runs on vegetable oil. She wants to show lifestyle options to people that they might not know about.

Hero #4 comes out in black shorts and red spandex, with a “V” emblem. He’s Major Victory, a.k.a Chris Watters, a disc jockey from San Francisco. He admits to making mistakes with his life, including a career in exotic dancing. This took a toll on his relationship with his daughter; he wasn’t a part of her life, and he wants to make up for it. He shakes hands with Creature, and she jokes about going to the club. “He’s gonna be entertaining,” she interviews.

Tense music plays as Hero #5, a topless bald man holding a gun, grunts “Begone” at the departing limo. His name: Iron Enforcer, a.k.a. Steel Chambers, a bodyguard from Brooklyn, NY. That’s what it says on screen. He interviews that he’s here for destiny. “Annihilation is my name,” he adds, “winning is my game.” He shows off his gun to Creature, calling it “the most high-tech weapon to date.” Major Victory: “Can it caulk a bathroom?” That’s funny, but I deduct points to the Major for laughing at his own joke. Enforcer gives a stern look.

Hero #6 is Monkey Woman, who comes out with boots, a fuzzy top, a staff and bananas clipped to her belt. Her real name is Mary Votava, a real estate investor from Seattle. She interviews that this is her chance to use “obscure talents” such as climbing trees and making monkey noises. She adds that the idea of being immortalized in a comic book is the coolest thing ever. She does some screeching for the others, prompting the editors to throw in a record scratching to a halt, as well as Major Victory caught speechless.

Hero #7 doesn’t get a good introduction, as the editors insert earthquake noises as her pink booties hit the ground. Turns out Fat Momma made the cut; the only real change seen here is that crullers have replaced the snack cakes on her belt. Her real name is Nell Wilson, a single mother of three kids from Los Angeles. “I want to prove that just because you’re fat and overweight” she interviews, “doesn’t mean that you can’t do the things that other people do.” Cut to a panel of the other heroes laughing as she twirls, revealing “FAT MOMMA” on the back of her cape. “I’m gonna rid the world of bullies,” she adds, “one doughnut at a time.” Creature finds out that Momma gets super powers from said doughnuts. She interviews that she’s worried about doughnuts being part of loving a body.

Hero #8 arrives in a tight green and black bodysuit. His name: Nitro G, a.k.a. Darren Passarello from...Staten Island? Where I live? Turns out that not only is he a student, but he also works at a comic book shop part-time and weekends, and that’s one of the places I poke around from time to time. Small world, right? Anyway, he knows everything about superheroes, and he’s up-to-date on all the issues. He shakes hands with the others, giving up inches to the other male heroes..

Hero #9 is a lady in a red cape, black top, red shorts and fishnet stockings. Also, she has a cell phone. Yes, this is Cell Phone Girl, a.k.a. Chelsea Ward, an interior designer from Le Crescenta, CA. She loves cell phones, she knew that she’d be Cell Phone Girl, and that’s about it.

Hero #10 comes in with blue on black spandex, shoulder pads and a “F” on his chest. Not the best letter to use, since it’s not symmetrical. His name is Feedback, a.k.a. Matthew Atherton, a software engineer from Las Crules, NM. After his father died when he was 14, this hero found role models in Stan’s books. “To become one of those people that I looked up to,” he interviews, “would be the culmination of my life.” Bonus: he couldn’t get away from work to do this show, so he quit.

Hero #11 is the aforementioned Tyveculus, a.k.a E. Quincy Sloan, a fire captain from Bakersfield, CA. He has three sons (ages 6, 5 and 3), and they’re his motivation for being here. He interviews that their father in a comic book would give them joy for the rest of their lives. I’d snark on that, but he seems very nice. Also, he might knock me out in one punch.

Our final hero comes in an one-piece golden suit with no visible bra. She’s Lemuria, a.k.a. Tonatzia Mondragon, a property manager from Los Angeles. She got into the final round by fan vote via, and she doesn’t want to let her supporters down.

The heroes raise their glasses for a toast, and time! Yeah, I’m sure the cameramen didn’t prompt them to go nuts. Creature and Lemuria dance, Monkey Woman does some pole moves with her staff, and even Iron Enforcer is getting funky. More partying. Conga line. Fat Momma smacks Major Victory’s butt. And then...Stan’s image pops up on screen. “Hold it there!” Stern Stan shouts, bringing the record scratching effect back. “This is serious business!” he rattles to the silent heroes. “Don’t you realize what you’re here for? We’re looking for the next superhero! I spent my life creating superheroes! They don’t act like that!” Everybody’s looking solemn, as we fade to artwork and commercials.

Coming back, Stan’s taken his medication. He’s not Smilin’ Stan just yet, but he’s getting there. Turns out the Legion of Newbies will be living in a “very secret lair,” since the mansion is too visible. He gives the address (11400 Willoughby Street, in case anybody wants to visit), then orders the team to commit it to memory. Nitro G: “Anybody get that?” Cell Phone Girl interviews that she doesn’t want to leave the mansion. Stan continues, saying that he’ll meet them at the address. “And then,” he adds, “the adventure begins.” He arranges for an inconspicuous ride to pick them up, and concludes the meeting with “Excelsior!” The gang repeats it, clearly feeling the spirit.

The ride is a huge SUV, with weird neon lighting on the ceiling. Feedback wonders what the lair will be like. Soon, the heroes get edgier, as the neighbor gets a little more urban for their taste. They arrive at 11400 Willoughby St. Nitro G doesn’t think this isn’t the place. Creature slides a door open...and Stan Lee pops up on another big screen. Turns out he gave the right location. The heroes gather around, as Tyveculus gives Nitro a boost on his shoulder. Stan delivers grim news: one of the heroes won’t be allowed to enter. Cut to everybody looking around, caught in the tension. “What could Stan have on us?” Lemuria interviews. “It’s day one, and we just got here!” Stan reveals that there’s a spy in the fold, an assistant of his assigned to infiltrate the group and make sure that the heroes are there for the right reasons. Monkey Woman repeats the information to us, her voice cracking just thinking about it.

The gang looks at each other, trying to dig up the mole. Let’s see...twelve heroes gathered, eleven in the credits. I wonder who’s the odd man out? As the heroes aimlessly speculate, Rotiart steps forward, telling Stan that he has information. He then jumps up and does a 180-degree turn facing the heroes. How does he top that? By dramatically announcing, “‘Rotiart’ spelled backwards is ‘Traitor’!” As if this wasn’t funny enough, he rips the “ROTIART” label off his chest, revealing “TRAITOR.” I think this is the point where I started coming around to this show. I knew it was him, but I didn’t think to reverse the letters. Anyway, Rotiart has been taping the gang from the beginning and recording their conversations on a hidden camera. He reveals a laptop to show some offending footage. Fat Momma interviews this never occurred to her, and she has to watch out for the little things. At Stan’s command, Rotiart reveals three heroes of suspect character.

The first clip starts with Levity talking about making custom action figures. Rotiart thinks it’s clever to become an action hero and then sell the figures. Levity admits he sells figures for $300-500. Yes, there is a market for this. Rotiart laughs about Levity possibly making millions. Cut to Levity in the now, smiling and looking down in embarrassment.

Next, we have Creature telling Major Victory that she loves to “kiss bodies.” She digs his body, and he jokes about “Creature comfort.” Cut to Creature gasping to Tyveculus, purring, “Hello, superhero!” Creature blinks at the footage, trying to process what’s going on. In her defense, Ty would be an upgrade.

Finally, there’s Iron Enforcer showing off his gun, bragging about his “delay-released explosion ammunition bullets.” He can actually choose when the bullets would go off, depending on who he wants to kill. Tense music plays as the hidden camera zooms in on the gun. Major Victory doesn’t think superheroes are supposed to be killers. Cut to Enforcer telling Nitro about how they have the same concept with adrenaline with their respective abilities, prompting Nitro to say that he wouldn’t kill. Cut to Creature asking Enforcer why he’d want to kill people. He claims that once he leaves the house, he’ll be going to the Middle East. Is anybody else’s blood running cold right now?

Rotiart turns his laptop off. Stan dresses down Levity about the quality of selflessness, albeit understanding about the whole “make millions” thing. He moves on to Creature. “You seem to flirt with every male superhero who flew in here!” he proclaims. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were just here to meet hot guys in tights.” I don’t think Stan has ever seen a reality show on MTV. Stan wraps up with Enforcer’s abrasiveness and bravado about killing. “Superheroes don’t kill people,” he notes. “They save people.” He wraps up, saying it pains him to eliminate one of the three heroes, but a figurehead’s gotta do what a figurehead’s gotta do. Shots of the heroes awaiting their fates, and fade to artwork.

We return as Stan drops the hammer on...Levity? Really? Wow. Stan points out a trash can nearby, grimly ordering, “I’m afraid I’ve got to ask you to turn in your costume.” Niiiicce. Levity walks over, telling his sympathetic colleagues to be careful. He gets hugged, while Rotiart grins nearby, happy to earn a check and some camera time. Thankfully, the departing hero just drops his gloves and basket into the can, as we see his symbol tattooed on his inner arm. Now that’s commitment. A cheesy effect simulates lightning striking the can, incinerating the discarded articles. Levity interviews that he’s disappointed about not moving on, and he has to tell everybody he’s the first one gone. Rotiart escorts Levity off the premises.

As the remaining heroes deal with the expulsion, Stan orders the team to take a freight elevator to the lair, where he’ll be meeting them. Major Victory interviews that he can’t imagine seeing himself or anybody else leaving one by one. The gang walk into a shop with dresses and two Asian women arguing with each other. Major asks about the elevator, only to get waved off. Cut to the grungy elevator with a bonus “condemned” sign. Monkey Woman comments about the “old rickety wooden crate attached to dental floss,” wondering how much superheroes weigh. The elevator screeches upwards, the door opens...

...and we’re in a posh lair fit for heroes in training. No matter how many times I see stuff like this, it’s always fun to watch. “It’s like a superhero wet dream,” Major Victory interviews. “It’s surreal, yet fantastic.” Shots of the living room and dining room. Cut to the individually-colored beds with names on the headboards. Cue the happiness and bouncing on beds. Stan’s voice beckons the team to join him (on screen) in the dining room.

As the heroes eat, Stan admits that he can’t test them on who can leap the tallest buildings, fly the highest or stop a locomotive with a pinky. “Every really good superhero has what’s important on the inside,” he tells the newbies. “It’s about heart, compassion, intelligence, courage, honesty and integrity. And those are the human characteristics that you’ll be tested on.” Interesting note: Stan has a portrait of Stripperella behind him while he’s saying this. I know he helped to create her, and I’m guessing he couldn’t put up Marvel stuff, but it’s just a little weird. “Welcome to what will become the adventure of a lifetime,” Stan notes. Monkey Woman hopes they’ll do him proud. “You all have so far!” he replies, causing the gang to laugh. Major Victory interviews that Stan wants them to be super humans, adding, “I think it would be easier for me to fly!”

Stan wraps things up, as he directs the heroes to a box containing their own communicators, for when he has to get in contact with them. Nitro G enthuses about waiting for something like that since he was a kid. Stan orders the gang to dress in “ordinary clothes” for tomorrow’s challenge. He raises a glass, shouting, “Excelsior to you!” After they follow suit, Stan asks them what it means. Naturally, they don’t know. He defines it as “upward and onward to greater glory.” I still think it’s Latin for “drink up!”

Time-lapse shot of cars driving, as night becomes day. The heroes arrive at the site in civilian garb and large bags. Sadly, nobody thought to wear glasses. Here’s Stan on the screen again: “Okay, True Believers, listen up!” “True Believer” can also be used in a drinking game, in case you’re thinking about it. Today’s theme: superheroes have to change into their gear at a moment’s notice. “Think Clark Kent looking for a phone booth,” Stan helpfully notes. The mission: Stan will call on the heroes to run out, find a place to change without anybody noticing, and race underneath a purple arch in the fastest time “in true superhero fashion.” Cut to Cell Phone Girl: “You gotta be kidding me.”

The heroes mill around. “Feedback!” Stan shouts. “Do your best! Go!” Feedback starts to run, then slows down, trying to pick his place in a nonchalant way. He finds a small ledge, drops backwards off of it, and begins to change. He interviews that he’s not self-conscious about changing in public, and it’s important that nobody sees him. Fast forward to Feedback running towards the end...and then we meet a girl in pigtails crying her heart out. “I want my mom!” she wails. “Help me! I’m lost!” Plot twist! Feedback keeps up the speed, whizzing past the girl as she sobs. To plunge the dagger in deeper, we get three different shots of the snub. “This cannot be more important to me,” Feedback interviews, unaware of the vultures circling him, “so I took everything very seriously and followed instructions to the letter.” The girl? Still sobbing, and we fade to art, as she gets a “Help!”in a word balloon.

Stan summons Fat Momma to get started. I wasn’t expecting her to be swift, but she has little to no support up top. It’s like watching Cirie all over again. As she looks around, Stan launches Tyveculus and Cell Phone Girl in separate panels. Ty pulls out a portable john, mutters “How’re you doing?” to a guy getting out of an adjoining john, and begins to change between two johns and one in front of him. CPG has her fishnets on, and she pulls up her skirt. She interviews that she has to make sure nobody sees her. The camera zooms to a civilian sitting behind her, then pans to two women walking and gawking. Three panels: Ty straps on gauntlets, CPG gets her cape on, and Momma finally finds trees to hide behind.

Here comes Cell Phone Girl running for the finish, carrying her plainclothes in a bag. Cue the girl crying for mommy. CPG runs past the girl, slows down, then turns around. The girl gasps about not finding her mother. CPG asks where she saw Mom last, then finds a place with a “Security Office” sign. Cut to CPG completing her run. She interviews that she would rather help a crying girl than win a competition.

Tyveculus pops out in costume, pushing the potty back to where he found it. He makes his run. The girl cries...and Ty runs past her. The editors only show this in two angles, so they must like Ty more than Feedback. “I hope I made Stan proud,” Ty interviews. “I fufilled my objective, I did so quickly, so be it.” Cut to the girl sobbing.

Fat Momma is in costume, rumbling her way to the finish, still bouncing up top. Also, she’s down to one cruellar on her belt. “Come on, Fat Momma,” she gasps to herself, “you can make it!” Cue the girl in distress. Momma runs and makes a 90-degree turn towards the true objective, asking the girl what her mother looks like. She eventually finds the secuirty office. “It’s okay,” she coos, “Fat Momma’s here.” Awwwwwwww. Cut to her finishing her run, her cape falling off. She interviews that she’d be devastated if any of her kids got lost, and she’d want somebody to help them.

Next up: Iron Enforcer, Lemuria and Monkey Woman. Enforcer finds a stairwell to change. Lemuria jumps on a ledge and trips over a trash can. Monkey Woman jumps up a tree, clearly into her character. Three panels of changing.

Monkey Woman swings down, running to the finish and carrying her staff. Cue the crying girl. Cue Monkey Woman blowing by her. She pumps her staff over her head in triumph. “This is very much in keeping with Monkey Woman,” she interviews, digging her own monkey grave. “I think I made Stan proud.” Cut to the girl sobbing. Ouch.

Iron Enforcer pokes out of his changing area, looking around and dramatically pointing his weapon. Cue the girl sobbing. Cue the Enforcer rushing by her. Really, wouldn’t the first instinct would be to flee from a guy who looks like that? “Absolutely nothing distracted me,” he interviews. “I saw the arches, I focused on it, and I bust through it.” Annnnnnd the girl’s still crying. That has to be exhausting for her.

Here comes Lemuria, running and bouncing to the finish. Cue the girl crying. Lemuria slows down, trying to reassure the girl. Turns out her name is Alice. The heroine introduces herself, lifting Alice into her arms. Cut to Lemuria finishing up. She interviews about being lost as a little girl, and she wouldn’t want anybody else to lose a girl.

Final round: Nitro G, Creature and Major Victory. Nitro parks in a garden with short ledges for cover. His panel is filled with people staring, which isn’t a good sign. Creature does Lemuria one better by getting inside the trash basket to change. Major Victory leaps to a secluded spot. Changing, changing, changing. Nitro G races towards the finish, blowing past Alice. “I may be little,” he interviews, “but I’m fast.” Creature runs out waving her whip. Cut to Alice crying for her mother. Creature whizzes past her, and seems to look back while running. At least that’s what it looked like to me. Creature twirls her whip on her way to the finish.

Major Victory....oy. He jumps around, pointing finger guns towards pigeons He dances around like a dope, near where Alice is positioned. Naturally, the most annoying of the heroes can put two and two together the fastest. “Who is this child’s mother?!?” he shouts to nobody in particular. He finds the security office. “Here,” he tells Alice, “climb into my arms.” Oh, man. The Major milks it for all he’s worth, darting his head from side to side dramatically. Cut to the dork in tights jumping down stairs and racing to the finish. He interviews that he may not have the fastest time but “I felt like a winner, not a weiner.” He punctuates his point with a “weiner” gesture using his hands. Look, I like ham, but I don’t like it getting shoved down my throat.

Denouement. Stan calls up the gang on the communicators, telling them that this wasn’t a test about speed. He tells them about placing Alice near the finish line. The truth slowly dawns on the newbies, as Tyveculus shakes his head. “That crying child,” Stan continues, keeping the glee of twisting the knife to a minimum, “was the most important element of this test.” Feedback: “Every part of my body wanted to cave in because [long pause as he struggles for the words] I missed it.” Stan orders the team back to the lair, adding that he’ll meet them on the rooftop. It’s elimination time, baby!

Night. Rooftop. Ten cubes lit in white, three in red. The heroes arrive and get on the cubes. Cell Phone Girl notes that the atmosphere is intense and intimidating. Stan’s image pops up on a billboard screen. Major Victory: “He’s larger than life. He’s an Oz-like figure. It’s a trip.” Stan goes over the challenge, noting that some of the heroes were fantastic. The others? Not so much. Stern Stan was appalled by those who didn’t help Alice, and one of them will be going home because of that. Feedback looks five seconds away from punching himself in the face. Those on the chopping block: Creature, Tyveculus, Monkey Woman, Nitro G, Iron Enforcer and Feedback. Three of these failures will step up to the red cubes and explain why they should not be eliminated.

Stan goes to Nitro G first. Not only did this guy not help Alice, but he changed in the open where everybody can see him. In his defense, the ledges might have provided cover if he laid down. Cut to replays of Nitro changing and people turning their heads. “You were told to be inconspicous,” Stan continues. “That was anything but.” Cut to Nitro grinning like a fool. “Stop smiling,” Stan snaps. “This really is very serious.” Ouch. He orders a clammed-up Nitro G to step onto a red cube. Iron Enforcer is halfway towards laughing out loud. Nitro interviews that as soon as he heard his name, he knew he was done.

Stan turns on Monkey Woman. He notes that the others missed Alice, but he isn’t sure that she did. In his eyes, Alice turned her head and looked at Monkey Woman, and she appaered to glance over and kept running. Stan orders Monkey Woman onto the red cube.

Moving on to Iron Enforcer, Stan goes over the whole “Superheroes don’t kill, they save” thing. He adds that Enforcer ignored the “poor child,” and this makes Stan question his qualities that make up a true superheroes. Enforce takes his place on the final red cube. The music swells, the drama thickens. Iron Enforcer interviews that he felt like being called to the principal’s office.

Stan gives the three fallen heroes a chance to wriggle off the hook. Nitro G apologizes, promising to learn from his mistake and not let Stan down again. Stan thanks him, then focuses on Monkey Woman, asking her if she ignored Alice on purpose. Damn, Stan can be nasty. Monkey Woman looks close to cracking, expressing that she’s so sorry for failing him, claiming that she didn’t hear or see Alice. Apparently, she was so focused that she missed things around her. Stan thanks her for her plea.

Next up to bat is Iron Enforcer. He apologizes for letting Stan down, adding that “there was much drama going on.” What? He couldn’t focus on Alice’s crying, and he was focused on the mission. “My true nature,” he claims, “as a human being, a mortal, is of caring and helping.” Okay, then. Stan says that this is a difficult decision, but there can be only one winner. Drama, drama, fade to art.

Coming back from commercials, we get Stan’s spiel again. And our lucky loser is...Nitro G?!? What the hell? Nitro looks glum as the cube underneath him turns black. Cue the somber music, as Monkey Woman looks down and Iron Enforcer is trying not to celebrate right away. “Son,” Stan tells the booted hero, “you still have a little growing up to do.” Damn, that’s insult to injury. Way to smack the little guy around. Nitro G nods slightly. “But tomorrow is another day,” Stan continues, “and I’m sure I shall see you again.” Awwwwwww.

“Nitro G...turn in your costume.” Nitro steps off the cube, depositing his goggles and gloves into the trash basket as the others look on. Cue the fake lightning and fire, followed by some real smoke. Nitro walks down the stairs, interviewing that he’d figured to be there a lot longer. He adds that he knew about messing up once he found out about Alice. “I should have been more conscious,” he adds, “I should have been more aware. It wasn’t about the race, it wasn’t about the changing, it was about helping a person in need, and I totally didn’t notice.” Nitro packs up his stuff. He plans on going back home and working to become a better hero and person. I’ll say this much...even with the dorkwear, he represented Staten Island better than Danielle & Dani.

Rooftop. “Superheroes,” Stan tells the group, “I told you at the beginning that some of our challenges would not be as simple as they appeared. Now I think you realize what I was talking about. I wish you all luck. You’re going to need it.” Overhead shot of the heroes. Fade to art with a “To Be Continued” caption.

So what did we learn? Well, we learned that finding a bad hiding place ranks below killing people, but above selling your likeness for profit. We learned about the troubles that tunnel vision can cause. Most of all, I learned that a show that had been in production limbo for years can actually come out smelling sweet. Yeah, Stan Lee made like Trump with two bad expulsions, but he fits his role very well. The next few weeks should be interesting to say the least.

Next time: Costume makeovers! Tension! Pissed-off German Shepherds! Major Victory: “I think I have a new name: Major Dog Food.” Don’t tease me, Weiner Boy.

1 comment:

bblackmoor said...

I just started watching this show, courtesy of Shareaza. I have only seen the first episode so far, but your description was spot-on (and hilarious). Thanks. :)