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‘Stargirl’ S01E04: ‘Icicle’ (review)

S01E04 — After realizing that she needs the extra help, Courtney sets out to recruit new members to the Justice Society of America – starting with Yolanda Montez (YVETTE MONREAL).

I might not have to do this…this might be a bit of a humblebrag, but when it comes to the character of Wildcat, it’s well tread scuttlebutt that I’m a huge fan. I edited and contributed to his Wikipedia page (might have started it, but can’t remember). I own the two-page origin sequence drawn by Jerry Ordway that appeared in 52. I commissioned this pic from Tom Fowler. I have my bonafides, if I need to show ‘em. With all that said, I didn’t hate when they killed Ted off in the first 15 minutes of the pilot. I know what this show is and what they’re going for, but man…how they get there is sort of painful.

The pre-title sequence shows Yolanda, the young Latinx girl who sits at Beth and Courtney’s lunch table. What we’ve seen of her so far is pretty far from what she was before. The sullen, introvert that we see now used to be the most popular girl in school, dating one of the most popular boys. She had it all, as in the picture perfect high school kind of Babysitter’s Club kind of life.

Until she makes one bad decision; she sends a nude selfie to Hank (her boyfriend, and son of Brainwave). It’s never explicitly stated, but I can’t be sure that Hank was the one who asked for the picture.

Only because Cindy, aka the queen bitch of the school, sends that picture to everyone in school…during an assembly. It’s the kind of thing that happens a lot in today’s world, and in some cases, leads to suicide or, at best, self-harm. That doesn’t happen, thankfully, but let’s be real for a second; not every teen has a Courtney Whitmore to give them a superhero’s costume to wear.

From here, as bad as that all was to watch, it gets pretty enjoyable. As mentioned, Courtney offers Yolanda the role of Wildcat (after seeing her boxing in the school gym) and Yolanda, who is grounded for life, agrees to help Stargirl try to find the other members of the ISA. There’s a lot of humor as Yolanda takes over for Ted, especially when she is told that her ex’s father is a supervillain (“That actually makes sense,” she says in a deadpan). Apparently, this version of Wildcat didn’t have nine lives, but his suit (which smells like an old gym bag) has some attributes that made him more human than human.

As a lifelong comic reader, that costume and its ability to help the wearer land on their feet makes much more sense than everyone being an Olympic athlete. Courtney and Yolanda don’t get a lot of sleuthing done, but they do find out that their principal might be a supervillain (which, you know, everyone in high school suspects).

Oh, and Beth caught them using their real names and sneaking around in costume.


Pat has a great subplot this week as he is trying to help the Wizard’s widow with her car. She gives him an ominous warning about the town and then, after claiming she is leaving Blue Valley, Pat finds her totaled car at the junkyard. Pat’s scenes, and Luke Wilson, were not that long this week, but they were so key that they’re the parts that I remember the most.

Courtney also brought all of the stolen (borrowed?) JSA items from last episode home. Including the Thunderbolt pen.

She clicks it, and when nothing happens, she casually puts it on her desk! TF is wrong with you??? Anyone can just walk in there and find it. Like, say, Mike’s friend, JAKEEM (!!).

In watching this week’s episode, it dawned on me how much better TITANS could be, if they just followed this formula. The formation of the team isn’t rushed, it’s almost too slow because they build up your interest in these characters better than, say, Raven. You actually care about Yolanda because we all know what it’s like to have your family turn on you out of what they think is best for the family (instead of the individual).

With Raven, the crisscrossing of the country to find her mother is just flat out useless when her mother turns on her. You end up not caring if Rachel turns evil or not.

Here, you root for Yolanda and Courtney because they are so sincere in their earnestness.


I can’t understand how the same people that made TITANS make this show.

****

Vito Delsante is a comic book writer, graphic novelist, editor, letterer, and the co-creator/writer of STRAY with Sean Izaakse, and THE PURPLE HEART with Dean Haspiel and artist, Ricardo Venâncio. He’s written for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, AdHouse Books, and Simon & Schuster, among others, and his stories have been reprinted in other countries. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, Michelle, his daughter, Sadie, his son, James, and his pitbull, Kirby.  You can find him online at incogvito.com and you can follow him on Twitter @incogvito

 

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