That Hirogen is @TonyTodd54! Even under all that makeup the voice gives it away. The hunting other sentient creatures motif remains distasteful to me but the EMH teaching Seven social graces on the other hand is nicely comedic & sets up the core of the episode.
The crew gets a big data dump on the Hirogen, stuff that was already obvious. They remain One-dinemsional cookie-cutter villians. Meanwhile we learn more about Species 8472, intriguing mainly because the show has the sense not to tell us too much. Trek should leave things mysterious more frequently.
The heart of “Prey” is Janeway’s interactions with Seven. Her initial stand on helping the Hirogen is odd, more
about the learning than the compassion. When the conversation shifts to saving the member of 8472 she remains dispassionate while Seven is intense. That’s a nice inversion especially when coupled with Seven’s defense of her own individuality.
Todd is great but after “the Visitor” I wish there had been more to this character. It still isn’t enough to make the Hirogen interesting. There are some dubious (distracting) decisions along the way but overall this was a fun and enthralling episode.
If you’ve been listening to Stars End Episode 7 you know that this comic, Superman #355 (January 1981) came up during our Asimov Trivia segment. It looked pretty interesting and so we spared no expense to obtain a copy and bring it to you.
In it, Asa Ezaak, a thinly veiled parody of Issac Asimov, struts around arrogantly and eventually uses his scientific genius to turn himself into a muck monster of some sort. Scratch that. He becomes the self-titled “Momentus, Master of the Moon!” That’s exactly the sort of name someone who refers to himself as “a person of note, sane and rational, fearless and intrepid, witty and forceful, and above all devilishly handsome” might choose for himself. Also there are werewolves. Don’t know what’s up with that
We’ll probably come back to this one and spend more time with it, giving you a better overview of the story once I’ve, well read it. And we’ll ponder the origins and the inspirations for the story. Is it a fair portrayal? And why a muck monst… er, excuse me “Moon Master?” *Cough.* That will appear here and on our podcast website StarEndPodcast.Wordpress.com.
In the meantime, here’s a short unboxing video to whet your appetite.
If a podcast about the Foundation Series and other things Asimovian sounds interesting to you, check out our show below.
All the children danced in the street! “It’s here! It’s here!” they cried! “The seventh episode of Stars End is here!!”
It’s true! Our seventh episode, “Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing a podcast” is now available! Even though we had some technical difficulties (the sound quality isn’t up to our usual standards; our apologies) it’s a great episode!
It’s great in part because it’s different! We’re honored to welcome Cora Buhlert as our first guest on the podcast! Instead of talking aboutFoundation, we’ll talk to someone else about Foundation. Also, science fiction in general, becoming an SF fan as a kid, Hugo Awards and, a bunch of other stuff.
Cora is an amazingly prolific and eclectic writer. So prolific that Jon joked about her owning “Asimov’s Typewriter” and we suddenly had a new imaginary episode of Warehouse 13 in our heads. So eclectic that no matter your tastes there’s a good chance that she’s written something that you’d enjoy. If you like stories about galactic empires like Foundation, she’s written two full series you might like, In Love and War and Shattered Empire. She’s also a two-time Hugo Finalist for Best Fan Writer.
I could go on and we do in the Episode. She was an excellent first guest and you can learn more about her at corabuhlert.com.
The episode is also great because it’s the same! We have new installments of our two regular features, the “Apple TV+ Minute” and “Asimov Trivia.: In the Trivia segment, we explore Asimov and Comic Books while in the Apple TV minute we react to the new trailer which you can watch “with” us right here!
I had some good conversations after episode 5, so I’m going into this episode with a bit of headcanon. It seems clear to me after “Journey into Mystery” that the person behind the TVA must be a Loki; it’s the logical extension of what they built up there. My preferred outcome is that Mobius is actually the Son of Loki and Sylvie and he’s been the driving force behind the TVA from the start with the goal of bringing about the circumstances of his own birth. That’s not very likely because it doesn’t fit into the larger MCU narrative and because this is more about alternate realities than time travel. If you haven’t, you should read “By His Bootstraps” and “…All You Zombies” by Robert Heinlein and while you’re at it, watch Predestination. In that order. But onto the episode.
It’s interesting seeing Loki and Sylvie on the cusp of realizing their goals become hesitant before they enter the suspiciously gothic castle.
The two statues we see as they enter are reminiscent of Sylvie when we first saw her. Their faces are clocks which is a cool juxtaposition.
Miss Minutes is clearly Satan.
Actually, to borrow a line from The West Wing, Miss Minutes is the guy who runs into the 7-11 to get Satan a pack of cigarettes.
“He who Remains.” Hurm. Could still be a Loki I suppose. So far, pretty cagey. Nice office though. Very Sanctum Sanctorum.
B-15’s scene in 2018 is a nice development, showing the other Hunters Ravonna’s pre-variant self, a high school principal(?) in Ohio. The diploma on the wall says “Rebecca Tourminet.” That’s an alias that the comic book Ravonna used when she was hiding in 1905 in the “Terminatrix Objective.” Checking the source material those do not look good. It was in the middle of the Cross-Time Kang storyline which I remember being tedious. This is a still stronger reference to Kang the Conqueror though.
“I already know what’s going to happen” is a standard time-travel trope. Here it’s a pale reflection of Doctor Who’s “Blink.”
He Who Remains is Kang, (really Immortus as he appears here). It was always the most obvious answer but that doesn’t mean it will be bad. Here he’s laying out the Cross-Time Kang storyline; I hope they can do that better. That story led to the Council of Reeds which I thought was pretentious but THAT led to the Council of Ricks which is great.
Quick aside: I’ve mentioned Hiddleston and Wilson before but Sophia Di Martino and Jonathan Majors and a bunch of others are terrific. This is a strong cast from top to bottom.
“Why would you give up being in control?” is a very Loki question. Sylvie wouldn’t ask that which is part of the reason they could work as a team.
Shades of Doctor Manhattan. “The threshold” is crossed and the time master no longer knows what will happen. That must be a standard part of that trope but I can’t think of another example, although Asimov’s “The Dead Past” has a similar device in the other temporal direction. Never mind. “By His Bootstraps” again. Right there at the end but in a much more organic way.
A “bazillion boogymen” sounds much better in a British accent.
Sylvie and Loki’s debate is authoritarianism vs. anarchy again. Until it isn’t.
I kind of love that Kang thinks this is all funny even to his death.
Tom Hiddleston is a good actor even when he’s just sitting there.
That’s a chilling moment at the end when Mobius doesn’t remember Loki and then worse when we see the fiction of the Time Keepers replaced with a version of He Who Remains looking much more Kang-Like than Immortus.
And Loki’s made the switch from being a budding authoritarian to being a revolutionary. Season 1’s Sylvie may foreshadow season 2’s Loki. Assuming that all this isn’t resolved in Doctor Strange: The Multiverse of Madness.
Since I started tweeting these in the middle of season 4, I decided to go back and fill in, working my way outward to S1 and S7. A lot of the previous episodes were on as background noise; this gives me an excuse for a closer watch.
At the start of the episode Janeway has made an alliance with the Borg. I’m sure this is one of the things that will figure prominently in her trial when she’s charged with war crimes. Working with the Borg is dumb and using Borg nano-probes medically is playing with fire.
A lot of stuff doesn’t make sense, like Species 8472 trying to speak through Kes, but having nothing to say. The Borg aren’t quite acting like Borg and everyone seems vaguely out of character. It’s clear this is a contrivance to get Seven of Nine into the show. That at least is well done
From the start Seven is distinctly more human than a regular Borg. It’s curious that Janeway recognizes her as human (how?). The build-up works and Seven’s isolation from the collective in fluidic space nicely foreshadows the resolution. The story ends as it inevitably had to and isn’t too silly.
So, overall this episode is pretty good despite its flaws. Species 8472 appears to be a malevolent new presence and Jeri Ryan as a new cast member shows a lot of gravitas. We can hope interesting things are forthcoming.
Nice title. “Journey into Mystery” was Thor’s original comic; that’s especially nice with Richard E. Grant playing Classic Loki.
Ravonna is a skilled liar.
I love that the Alligator with the horns is also a Loki. I approve of making things just a little more surreal.
Also, I had been hoping that the guy with the hammer was a Thor but he’s a Loki too. I’m now convinced that Sylvie really is a Loki herself.
I guess that the Thanos Copter is the big Easter egg that everybody was excited about. Yawn. But we do get a glimpse of Mjolnir and Frog Thor. Better.
Sylvie’s self-pruning is a gutsy move; trusting Ravonna even in that was risky.
Classic Loki’s story involves being captured by the TVA and “pruned” after ending a self-imposed exile. God of Outcasts. But he inspires Main Loki to confront Alioth.
We get Sylvie in the void. And a better look at Alioth. I hope it’s Mobius in that car. And it is. Nice.
I’m pretty sure Alligator Loki is the best character. Classic Loki’s reflections are interesting. “We’re broken. Every version of us.”
Sylvie and Loki have some synergy themselves. They both independently decide to confront Alioth.
I had to look this up but the Eldridge is the ship from the Philadelphia Experiment. Real ship, probably fake experiment though.
Sylvie keeps getting better as a character.
Nice exchange between Classic Loki, Kid Loki, and Mobius. “It’s never too late to change.” That’s a nice setup for the Loki and Sylvie conversation.
The battle with Alioth is a good action sequence and Classic Loki gets his moment in the sun turning the tide. Recreating Asgard is a big distraction and visually stunning. And the music, strongly evocative of Wagner’s The Ride of the Valkyries is a nice touch. “I think we’re stronger than we realize.”
Classic Loki brings himself full circle, ending another exile by sacrificing himself. A pivotal character.
Everything is tinged green befitting the Lokis’ victory over Alioth and we see the episode title wasn’t just a nice nostalgic reference. Loki and Sylvie get to travel beyond the void to confront whoever is behind the TVA. The Journey into Mystery continues.
It’s been almost three short years, and here we are at the 100th post on Comics, The Universe and Everything! I hope you’ve been enjoying the ride!
Anniversary Issues have become a big deal in the comics world, a universe where very few comics last long enough to have 100 issues. Indeed, some of the all-time most important series — All-Star Comics comes to mind — never made that milestone. And so we get big comics with epic stories and a plethora of guest stars or returning favorites. The Fantastic Four faced off against virtually all their foes! Spider-man became more spidery by growing 4 extra arms! I don’t remember what happened in Avengers 100 but the cover promises “the mightiest 100th issue of all!!” Also ten-damn-dollars for Amazing Spider-Man #800, but that’s another conversation.
For our 100th post spectacular, we’ll revive the “First Comics” column. I’ve written about my first comic as a collector (Action Comics # 425) and my first issue of Fantastic Four (#126). Today we’ll look at my First 100th issue, Justice League of America #100, August 1972. Ironically, #99 had been a double-sized issue. DC had tried to make their entire line of comics 52 pages for 25 cents but that experiment ended and issue 100 returned to the more modest size and price of 20 cents. A SPECIAL REGULAR-SIZED ISSUE!!
It was probably on the stands 49 years ago today as I write this and the next issue box from JLA #99 ramped up expectations!
This is about a year before, with all the seriousness a nine-year-old can muster, I decided I was a “comic book collector.” I only owned a handful of comics at this point but I knew I liked team books with lots of heroes and this one promised to fit the bill.
So let’s revisit the actual comic. It’s surprising how little happens in this issue.
It begins with some JLAers arriving at the team’s dusty, cobwebbed former headquarters ready to celebrate their hundredth meeting. That’s a bit on point, but okay. Green Arrow must have a dustbuster arrow or some nonsense that will help them clean up. Also, I have no idea why they’re holding this celebration in what looks like a cave while they have a perfectly good multi-million-dollar state-of-the-art satellite headquarters. Nostalgia, I suppose.
Their satellite, by the way, is in geosynchronous orbit which is 22,300 miles above the Earth’s surface and THAT is a fact that I learned from reading comics.
Everybody wants to attend the party. There are more than 2 pages of characters getting ready to go to, starting to go to, arriving at the cave, or bemoaning the fact that they can’t attend the party. DC takes the opportunity to pad the list of guest-stars that they hyped in the last issue. Just saying, Adam Strange — one panel, Martian Manhunter — one panel, Snapper Carr — one panel. At least we see why Batman is too good to help clean up the cave; two low-level thugs need apprehending. Also, Diana Prince needs a lift. Doesn’t she have an invisible plane?
And there’s a cake with a big numeral on the top. Even at eight, I knew that was lame. Also, would someone please slap the crap out of Green Arrow?
Suddenly… as they say in the comics biz, everyone in the cave is teleported to Earth Two and we’re introduced to The Justice Society of America. America Two? I really like the JSA and for as long as I can remember I’ve liked them better than their Earth One counterparts. When I came back to comics in the 80s, I mostly read Marvel books before Crisis on Infinite Earths. Two of the exceptions were All-Star Squadron and Infinity, Inc. Because of the JSA connections.
That’s what makes this a personal key for me. As near as I can figure this was my introduction to the JSA as a group although I’d seen some reprints of their solo stories. Still, look at this! Cool gas mask, cool hood, cool goggles, cool helmet. Also, Wildcat has literal whiskers! Great stuff! And for me way more interesting than the everyday leaguers.
And here the book gets positively Asimovian. The JSA explains that their Earth is being gripped by a huge hand which has something to do with a villain called the Iron Hand. Clearly, Len Wein had been watching Star Trek.
With Zatanna’s help, Dr. Fate conjures an oracle who keeps on with all the long-winded explanations. The key to saving Earth Two from the Hand? Turns out it’s the Seven Soldiers of Victory (Well, eight really, but let’s say that’s about keeping the name alliterative and not about the fact that Wing was Asian). Anyhow, the 7SofV? Also pretty cool. But Stripsey? Bwah-haha! Oh, the 1940s, you can be so silly!
The last adventure of the Seven Soldiers had them encounter a menace called the Nebula Man who is somehow similar to that hand thing. We get an extended flashback. The 7SofV built a whatchamacallit to defeat the Nebula Man and that same thingamabob just might do the trick here. Luckily for their publicist, they’re victorious, although one of the soldiers sacrifices his life and the rest are taken out of time so they no longer exist. The contemporary Earth 2 heroes can’t really remember them.
Something almost happens; in an homage to the great JSA stories from All-Star Comics, everyone has to break into teams to retrieve the time-lost Seven Soldiers. In another homage, the Earth 1 Wonder Woman gets left behind to “brief anyone else who might arrive.” We get another flashback and now the coincidences are multiplying faster than the spiders in Miss Havisham’s wedding cake. That Iron Hand guy? He used to be known as merely “the Hand” and he was responsible for them becoming a team in the first place. We learn his early history with the team, which is ultimately their origin story.
Then something finally happens! We get to see the first team retrieve the first soldier from the depths of the past.
And as suddenly as the action began, it ends, because the pages have been successfully filled. We end with a couple of panels where the Iron Hand gives a typical over-the-top supervillain rant and vows that all these foolish heroes will not foil his plans. The next issue is hyped with a title that is almost a pun and the issue is over.
Overall this issue is mediocre; I poke fun but enjoyed revisiting the issue. The story, bringing two teams together to welcome a Golden Age group back into continuity is worthy of a 100th issue. But the pacing is a bit off and I wonder if this was planned for a double-sized issue and had to be reconfigured in a hurry when they decided to make all the titles regular-sized again. The JLA warranted a larger anniversary issue. Another hundred issues on they got one, a “Super-sized, star-studded 200th” issue if the cover is to be believed.
The story continues into JLA 101 and concludes in 102. It’s more of the same; the other groups of heroes rescue the remaining Soldiers of Victory and we get a lot of patent DC Weirdness along the way. We learn which soldier sacrificed his life and Diana, without any powers, gets to take down the Iron Hand. The weapon that the 7SofV built is recreated and this saga ends in a way parallel to the 7SofV’s last story; one of the JSA sacrifices his life to deploy the device and save Earth Two.
Voyager is stealing cable to talk to Starfleet in the alpha quadrant and the Hirogen don’t like it. I wanted to see more of the Hirogen, but the face painting thing is too cliché for me.
It’s weird to see the crew have hope. I predict the writers will use this for some cheap pathos.
Meanwhile, Pro Tip: Don’t want to hire an extra to play a corpse? Throw an empty costume on a biobed and claim there’s been a “complete osteotomy.” That’s technobabble for “This alien has been fileted.”
So, yeah. Letters from home. We get cheap pathos in spades; some of it’s organic, like news about the Maquis, but a lot, like Harry whining about not getting a letter, is just annoying. And Neelix hovering over everyone as they read their letters… Ugh. Très creepy. You’d think there’d be a better way to deliver e-mail in the 24th Century.
And I’ve lost interest in the Hirogen; they’re a completely forgettable morass of hunting clichés and despite having warp drive, they’re idiots. Maybe it gets better, but for now, they rank with the early Ferengi, utterly one-dimensional. At least they aren’t the Kazon.
It was fun watching Janeway be a complete and total badass, but that didn’t make up for the rest of the episode.
A lot is going on in this episode and there are a lot of reveals that I’ll try to be somewhat vague about. Still… spoiler warning. Less speculation this time. Probably.
If that little girl is Silvie, that makes it all the more dubious that she’s a Loki. But she’s Asgardian so maybe…. I have to wonder how much variation from the “sacred timeline” is allowable or even possible. This seems inconsistent with previous episodes.
I don’t believe the thing about C-20. But I don’t think we’re supposed to.
The destruction of Lamentis, by the way, is spectacular.
Seeing Sif was a nice surprise. This might fast-forward some character development for Loki.
It is clear Ravonna is up to something and that something is up with B-15.
Again Wilson and Hiddleston are spectacular together. Good subtle performances.
Ravonna is still acting suspiciously. She seems to have a strong connection to Mobius. It makes me wonder, what if Mobius ends up being Kang? That’s not a casting choice I see them making, but it would be interesting.
It was pretty obvious what was up with B-15 but we get confirmation at Roxxcart. And Mobius ties all that together with the lie about C-20.
One of the Time Keepers has a Mark Gruenwald mustache. That’s a nice touch. Also, Time Keepers. Called it.
Wow. Did not see that coming! Watch the episode.
Big reveal after the credits. Maybe Sylvie’s a Loki after all. There’s a nice nod to Journey into Mystery that might tell us something about Richard E. Grant’s character and also perhaps something that will drive the white supremacists crazy.
We’ll begin in our usual way. To mark the occasion this year, we’re flying the “Bunker Hill Flag” which is a bit different from our usual July 4th flag; its not one of the variations of the stars and stripes. It’s famous for flying at the Battle of Bunker Hill the first major conflict of the Revolutionary War, except that it isn’t. I’ll explain. It’s a story reminiscent of the history of the Bennington Flag.
The Bunker Hill Flag, so named because many believe it was flown by the colonists at its eponymous battle, has a blue field with the red St. George Cross on a white background in the canton. In the upper left hand corner of the canton is a pine tree which to the colonists symbolized liberty.
There are no contemporary accounts of this flag being flown at the battle and most likely the colonists flew what is known as the colonial flag; a red ensign with a pine tree shown in the canton. Both of these flags are modeled on British flags with only the addition of a pine tree because at the time, many colonists still believed that reconciliation with Great Britain was possible.
The evidence that the blue Bunker Hill flag was flown at Bunker Hill consists entirely of a painting done by Jonathan Trumbull, an eye witness to the battle, and an interview of the daughter of a veteran of the battle.
But the daughter’s account only said that her father claimed to have raised a blue flag at the battle while an earlier version of Trumbull’s painting showed the blue flag colored red; that painting is considered to be evidence that the Continental Flag was used.
There’s one piece of direct evidence that the Bunker Hill Flag was actually flown at the battle, a book published early in the 19th century. The book contained a picture of the flag but the description described it as red rather than blue. This is generally considered to be a printing error.
Despite it’s questionable origins, the Bunker Hill Flag became a symbol of both the Revolution and of New England. It remains in use as a flag of New England today.
This seems fitting. Despite Bunker Hill being the original objective of both the Americans and the British, most of the fighting occurred a third of a mile south on Breed’s Hill. Some even cal it “The Battle of Breed’s Hill.”