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Who Wants to be a Superhero 2, Episode 1: Part of the Teamby Mike DeGeorge -- 07/27/2007
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Last year around this time, Stan Lee and the SciFi Network had a minor hit on their hands with Who Wants to be a Superhero?, which turned the reality show world, not to mention the comic book world on their respective ears. Instead of merely describing and drawing their visions (as I feared when originally hearing the concept), host Stan Lee had each contestant actually became their Superhero, and were put through their paces, existing in their own (cheesy and badly acted, yes, but that was half the fun) little reality comic book world. Inventive twists like disguising the true nature of challenges and bringing back an evicted hero kept the show interesting.
Now we have the sequel. While I am excited at the prospect, I am a bit worried. For one, the same twists that made the show interesting in the first season could hurt it this season. Contestants, if they’re smart, will be on the lookout for traps. But the biggest problem this season will face: it will be all but impossible to find a better final three, emotion-wise, backstory-wise, personality-wise, and every other wise-wise, than Major Victory, Fat Momma, and Feedback.
That said, I’m looking forward to seeing them try. Voiceover Guy, himself something of a Superhero… kind of… tells us that this year will be more unpredictable, more epic, and that the contestants who think they know what they’re getting into have another thing coming.
Stan Lee joins us. He wants to find the NEXT next great superhero. They went on an eleven city tour (hmm, how did I miss them coming to St. Louis?) and even got coverage from Jay Leno. Sadly, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog must have felt the crowd was too easy.
Stan narrowed down the hopefuls to a few, and met them all at his own secret HQ. The quality of the special effects has improved, but the quality of the applicants has not. I would like to point out Homeless Man, who looks shockingly close to D-Man. He has the ability to THINK he can fly, which is either brilliant or stupid, I can’t decide.
After careful deliberation, Stan chooses the best ten heroes. He delivers the good news via last year’s winner, Feedback! In a cool effect, Feedback travels through power lines to his destination, which isn’t a power I remember him having. The ten lucky heroes are (with help from the SciFi website):
Ms. Limelight - Trisha, a 19-year old waitress and aspiring actress (although that last part’s a guess, I don’t think I’m out on a limb there). She can emulate action movie stars but has sensitive legs. Yes. Really. She’s also neck and neck with Jessica from Big Brother for “most annoying voice in reality TV.”
Hygena - Melody, a 36-year old homemaker. She “fights crime and grime with weapons created from cleaning tools.” Feedback scares the crap out of her by “appearing” in her kichen behind her.
The Defuser - Jared, a 38-year old police detective. Wisely, Feedback enters the station through the front door. The Defuser is an expert inventor with enhanced speed, strength, etc. Imagine Blue Beetle with superpowers.
Basura - Aja, a 24-year old artist who not only “turns trash into treasure” (including her costume, which is made entirely of trash) but communicates with insects of all kinds. Hey, when Aquaman laughs at your powers, it’s time to hang it up.
Mr. Mitzvah - Ivan, a 51-year old recording artist. He uses his Star of David paddle, passed down from King David who Mitzvah is directly descended from, to defeat his enemies. His weaknesses are non-kosher foods. Yeah, this season is going to be interesting.
Mindset - Phillip, a 24-year old cashier. Not just that, he’s a cashier from the FUTURE! He’s got a highly advanced mind, telekinesis, and futuristic armor. Remember Lex Luthor’s horrible green armor? Yeah, it kinda looks like that. He’s in bad shape because our modern foods are so darn yummy. There’s no in-between, I’m either gonna love this guy or hate him. He was the winner of the SciFi Channel’s internet vote, which just seems perfectly appropriate somehow.
Parthenon - Dan, a 28-year old college department head. His ancient gauntlet grants him super-strength, limited invulnerability, and flight – but only one at a time. He says he is a Superhero that just happens to be gay.
Braid - Crystal, a 42-year old former CIA agent, now a homemaker. She’s a shapeshifter and uses her multi-colored braids for offense and defense. She will fight for children at all costs. Supercuts is her mortal enemy.
Hyper-Strike - John, a 21-year old circus performer. He’s a martial arts master who… well, he uses his sweat as a weapon.
Whip-Snap - Paula, a 31-year old domina… whoops, sorry. Honest mistake. She’s a security officer who wields her whip with pinpoint precision. She also has a bond with mother earth. So do I. It’s called gravity.
This year’s lair is… the same place as last year’s lair. That’s not too smart, since the location has been broadcast over national TV! As the heroes walk by, the two Oriental women say, “Here we go again” and, “I thought you changed the locks!” See, it’s the attention to detail that makes this show great.
The lair is a big, open loft, and the heroes ooh and ahh appropriately while they size each other up. Basura worries that her messiness will clash with Hygena’s cleanliness. Mr. Mitzvah is keeping his distance and already irritating some.
Stan joins us again (by video, as always) and tells the heroes that they are in for the adventure of a lifetime. It’s not about physical prowess, but about what they possess inside – honor, integrity, honesty, courage. He warns that he’ll be watching everything. The prize, by the way, is immortality as a character in a comic written by Stan, an action figure, and a starring role in a SciFi original movie. Suddenly, Stan yells, “You can’t come in here!” and they lose the feed.
As someone suggests they go save Stan, a dark hooded figure appears on the screen in Stan’s place. Mindset goes for the Major Victory role, as he demands that the villain speak. He says that if they want to see Stan again, they should split into two teams and go to the North or South aqueduct, one team at each location. Ms. Limelight looks horrified, as though Stan were actually in danger.
The Defuser takes command (although Mindset tries to insert himself by pointing out that it could be a trap… but they have no choice but to go anyway. Thanks for the help!) and they agree to split the team down the middle. Defuser’s team (the blue team, taking the north aqueduct) is himself, Basura, Braid, Parthenon, and Ms. Limelight. Hyper Strike’s team (the red team, taking the south aqueduct) is himself, Mindset, Hygena, Mr. Mitzvah, and Whip-Snap. I think Hyper Strike has the advantage there.
Each team finds a shopping cart with a video monitor inside. I see those every day in the aqueduct. The villain reappears and tells them that they have four minutes to approach the large industrial fans blowing wind and water at them, reach the levers and turn them off, then turn off the valve. Then they will be able to save Stan with the key, helpfully provided by the villain.
The Defuser takes command of the blue team, having everyone link arms to approach the fans, while the red team just runs like crazy. The blue team turn everything off, but can’t figure out why the fan is still going. Then they remember the key. The red team reaches the same conclusion – and neither team thought to bring the key with them, so they both have to run back to the cart and get it. Swift.1 2 Next-->
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