Friday, September 01, 2006

Who Wants to Be a Superhero? Finale

The finale of "Who Wants to Be a Superhero?" has aired; others have seen it but I have not, and I'm about to watch my recording of it. At this point, I feel I can speak more fully about the elimination of Major Victory. And it ain't gonna be pretty.

FEEDBACK

"Spider-Man helped me become an adult?" Huh. That would explain the continual tone of whining self-pity; where's the wisecracks?
"From the time I was five, I wanted to be a superhero."
"This is the culmination my entire life has been building toward."
"I'm living a dream come true."
"I've idolized Stan Lee and he's the man I looked up to since I was a kid."

YEESH! Get a room already, fanboy.

Sugar-coat it all you want, but Feedback's reasons for wanting to be the final contestant are entirely selfish. It's all about his childhood abandonment issues and his insecurities. Unlike Fat Momma and the Martyred Saint Major Victory, there is no motivation to reach out to others, no message in his story to inspire anyone else. Why should there be? It's all about Feedback wanting to feel better about himself. As a result of his self-centeredness, Feedback inspires no one. Nowhere was this more obvious than in the school visit. Major Victory engaged and entertainment; Fat Momma taught and inspired; Feedback just talked about himself. His greatest triumph was in the Prison Challenge which he won by ... being pathetic and talking about himself.

Actually, I take that back: Feedback did inspire: he inspired pity. Repeatedly. From Stan. From the Big Bad Prisoner/Actor. From Fat Momma. How bad is it when Fat Momma finds you pitiful?

Don't get me wrong; I don't dislike Feedback. He seems like a nice, sincere, yet functionally emotionally disturbed person. But I don't like him, and I don't really know anyone else who does either. I don't want a pitiful hero.

I'd read a comic with Major Victory or Fat Momma in it. Feedback #1? ZZZzzzzzzzz. What's it going to be; 22 pages of Feedback's inner monologue on abandonment as he fumbles with his gloves?

Feedback; you are tall, handsome, strong, intelligence, and you have a lovely wife in desperate need of tonsorial support. Feel good about yourself, stop seeking Daddy Stan's approval, go home where you belong and help your wife rebleach her hair.


FAT MOMMA

On some level, I adore Fat Momma. She has a maternal quality most people enjoy. I can easily imagine hanging out with her and having fun, something I can't manage for all the other contestants. Can you imagine hanging out with Tyveculus or the Iron Enforcer? I mean, without a sling being involved?

But I seen her Evil and her Weakness, and they are not things I want in my superheroes. The bitter recriminations after Tyveculus was eliminated. The selfish begging that she not be eliminated during the Sacrifice Challenge. Her abandonment of the Villain Hunt to traipse around scarfing up other people's food. If you wanted to eliminate someone who didn't take being a superhero seriously enough, Stan, you should have chosen her instead of Major Victory.

Her usual message of self-acceptance is not a bad one. But there's not much of self-improvement in it, is there? And, as I've mentioned before many times in my "DC vs. Marvel" tirades, I don't want heroes who make me feel better about who I am (a la Marvel); I want heroes who inspire me to better myself (a la DC). I don't want heroes who view their abilities as burdensome responsibilities (a la Marvel) but as wonderful opportunities (a la DC). I don't want as my heroes Fat Momma and Feedback; I want Major Victory.


MAJOR VICTORY

What cannot be said in praise of Major Victory? Well, truth be told, Stan's final criticism of Major Victory was not wrong. At times, I, too, was annoyed but Major Victory's tendency to spoil even his finest moments by being goofy. But is that a flaw in Major Victory ... or in me?

Major Victory never took himself seriously, but he always took the challenges seriously, conquering all of them and making it look easy in the process. His principal stumble was during the Secret Identity Challenge, where he succumbed a bit to vanity. I don't mind my heroes being a bit vain; they almost having to be to do their jobs. But I do mind their being self-centered ... like Fat Momma and Feedback.


FINALE

I've been very impressed by Stan Lee during most of the shows. He acted as an avuncular yet firm enforcer of standard heroic values. But at the end, he showed his Marvel viewpoint by eliminating the one contestant who made being a superhero seem fun, the one who made others feels good; instead, he embraced the two who made being a superhero seem like a desperate personal need or burdensome obligation.

30 comments:

totaltoyz said...

You know, I was going to suggest a companion show, entitled Who Wants To Be A Super-Villain. Then I realized, that show is already on the air. It's just called by a different name: The Apprentice.

Timothy Burke said...

Feedback seems to me to be one of those characters who gets created for a summer's worth of Annuals largely so he can be killed in order to lend drama to the whole proceeding. Or one of those characters who is a hero-worshipping wannabee who tries too hard to imitate the superhero who inspired him and gets turned into puree by the Green Goblin, etc., thereby stoking the rage of the genuine superheroic article.

David said...

That's a great encapsulation of the classic difference between Marvel & DC.

David C said...

*I* like Feedback, and think he fits into a solid superheroic archetype. An earnest young hero who makes mistakes along the way, but learns from them.

Law Dog said...

Must be why I prefer classic DC over classic Marvel. I prefer my heroes a bit more Iconic. Major Victory, we salute you, you are the real winner. Feedback, sorry my sad little wannabe, but your a weiner.

Well, at least Lame-muria didn't take it. Anybody who isn't even sure what their superhero identity name is probably shouldn't be running around in tights.

Bill Reed said...

Dammit, I would've bought a Fat Momma comic...

Tenzil said...

The best part of the series was when Stan eliminated all the decent actors, then made the final challenge a screen test.

The second best part was when he eliminated all the fun or moderately goofy characters, then had the final two demo reels be super-cheesy, pun filled wack fests.

I think the best thing that can be said about Feedback is that he was a total professional at the stunt school and obviously took direction extremely well. I will probably TiVo his $1.99 budget Sci-Fi movie, then watch it drunk.

I expect all of these guys to be at NY Comicon and I can see myself asking Major Victory (teeth-gleaming hero), Dark Enforcer (cheesy villain), Monkey Woman (hot girl), or Fat Momma (likeable schtick) for a pic. I can't see wanting to meet Feedback (needy superdork), even for a goof.

Put into DC terms:

Major Victory is like Booster Gold. Dark Enforcer is like Dr. Polaris. Monkey Woman is like Black Canary. Fat Momma is like Ma Hunkel.

Feedback is like.....?

He should have been like Mister Miracle- his character could have been about triumph over personal adversity, which would make him a warmer, better person and let him have empathy for the rest of the world and a sense of duty to 'help out'.

Vincent J. Murphy said...

I lost interest once Lemuria's boobs were dismissed. The show started out interestingly, but the eliminations became arbitrary and not really based upon anything other than the whims of the producers.

But if Major Victory had won, they probably would not have been able to use his name as the title of a film without DC Comics permission (I think they own the trademark on Major Victory, much like the makers of Karate Kid had to get permission to use that as their movie title).

Everything just seemed so fake, though: the blackberries that somehow provide video feeds, the overacting of all the contestants, etc.

Plus, when you have Stan Lee eliminating a contestant for revealing their secret ID and bashing them because Spider-man would never do such a thing, while at the same time Marvel having Spider-man reveal his ID: that's comedy gold! :)

X-Himy said...

Major Victory getting cut was heart rending, just as much as Monkey Woman. This is made doubly so because Stan's complaints about Major Victory were somewhat unfounded to the point where it was obvious he was being set up to be cut. Taking his cape off to help an old lady across a puddle? That is absolutely the right thing to do. Was he overly goofy and did his dance moves sometimes annoy? Sure. But he damn well moonwalked through a crosswalk, and that deserves points for style. And frankly, he should have won it because he most embodies that superheroic ideal.

But Feedback was set up as a Marvel style, and this is Stan Lee's show. Nothing against Fat Momma, I like her a lot, but we have seen her weaknesses and dark side. I wanted a Feedback vs Major Victory finale, a Marvel vs DC thing.

I do feel the need to defend Feedback. He has become more whiny and more tangled up in father issues, he has also become more heroic. He started out as kind of a dick, and has worked hard to be a hero. And the prison challenge? He did what needed to be done to win that. I would argue that after Lemuria, he had the hardest challenge. And Lemuria, being spectacularly incompetent, could not have handled hers in a worse way. Brushing hair, rubbing shoulders? Easy stuff! Getting hugs? Mondo difficult. And he did it in a psychological way that made it work, being vulnerable.

totaltoyz said...

Major Victory is like Booster Gold. Dark Enforcer is like Dr. Polaris. Monkey Woman is like Black Canary. Fat Momma is like Ma Hunkel.

Feedback is like.....?


Giffen & DeMatteis' Blue Beetle.

law dog said...

"But if Major Victory had won, they probably would not have been able to use his name as the title of a film without DC Comics permission (I think they own the trademark on Major Victory, much like the makers of Karate Kid had to get permission to use that as their movie title)."

Did Marvel also have a trademark on it? It was also the name for Vance Astro from Guardians of the Galaxy after he found Captain America's shield in the future.

Gotta be honest, the name is so generic that I don't believe you should be able to trademark it. It seems too much like a natural part of speech.

Scipio said...

"The best part of the series was when Stan eliminated all the decent actors, then made the final challenge a screen test.

The second best part was when he eliminated all the fun or moderately goofy characters, then had the final two demo reels be super-cheesy, pun filled wack fests."

Ouch! Good calls, Tenzil!

Mallet said...

"Unlike Fat Momma and the Martyred Saint Major Victory, there is no motivation to reach out to others, no message in his story to inspire anyone else. Why should there be? It's all about Batman wanting to feel better about himself"

"I don't dislike Batman. He seems like a nice, sincere, yet functionally emotional disturbed person"

"I'd read a comic with Major Victory or Fat Momma in it. Batman? ZZZzzzzzzzz. What's it going to be; 22 pages of Batman's inner monologue on abandonment as he fumbles with his gloves?"

~Cough~

Mallet said...

Sorry the moment you said 22 pages of inner monolouge I couldn't get it out of my head.

David Campbell said...

Scipio, you are a wise man.

Loren said...

I'm still bitter about Major Victory being voted out a week ago. I agree that he could parody himself a bit too much, but, he was the most entertaining. I'd buy his comic book in a heartbeat. But, then, I thought about it and realized that this is Stan Lee writing the book. He's not known for his funny books. A Giffen and DeMatteis, Dan Slott, Fabian Niscieza, or Peter David could bring out the fun in Major Victory, but I'm not sure about what Stan Lee would have done with him.

I can see Feedback being his choice because he tends to mirror more of the type of hero that Stan Lee would write. That's not a bad thing, to me. But, I almost worried that he'd go Dark Enforcer psychotic if Stan Lee didn't declare him the winner. I really feared that he was going to jump across the plaza and go on a Hulk style rampage.

But, honestly, I don't think I would have wanted Fat Momma to win. Yes, I do think she had more of a message of inspiration and I really liked how she handled herself in the classroom, but I think, eventually, she would have become a one-trick pony.

I'm going to give Feedback's book a chance...although, I would have been way gung ho for a Major Victory one!

Scipio said...

Mallet,

That's not Batman; at least, Batman as I recognize him. That's Batman as written by Marvel-influenced writers who think that inner turmoil equals character depth.

If you'll read, oh, say, the first 50 years of Batman, you'll see something different entirely.

Scipio said...

Thanks, Dave!

I respect you for being a Marvel fan who doesn't need to read his comics with blinders on.

Scipio said...

"I think, eventually, she would have become a one-trick pony. "

Evenutally?

Come now, Loren; there's only going to be one issue!

Timothy Burke said...

Does anybody think Stan is going to *actually* write the comic book in question?

David C said...

"Does anybody think Stan is going to *actually* write the comic book in question?"

Actually, I think so. From everything I've heard/read, Stan does still write anything he has a writing credit on. A lot of people figure he doesn't write the Spider-Man comic strip, for example, but it seems he really does.

BTW, I don't think DC or Marvel has a trademark on "Major Victory" that would stick. Characters, yes, but AFAIK none that were ever cover-promoted heavily (if at all), which tends to be the touchstone for comic character trademarks (see "Captain Marvel" vs. "Shazam.")

Scipio said...

If you'll rewatch the show, you'll notice they never Stan will write.

Stan always says he will create the comic, i.e., make it happen.

Michael said...

I said it a couple weeks ago. Major Victory is Silver Age DC, Feedback is Silver Age Marvel.

Who embodies Silver Age Marvel more than Stan?

HalShipman said...

DC has had a Major Victory character as well (actually, several guys in the same role). First one was introduced in the Outsiders in "The Force of July" in their series of ad-hoc lame rival super-teams, but they stopped sucking so much in Suicide Squad. He died in the all-slaughter issue of Eclipso, but I think there's been a new one in the Battle for Bludhaven.

law dog said...

And Cell Phone Girl is a 80's ad for Radio Shack updated for the 21st century.

totaltoyz said...

Who embodies Silver Age Marvel more than Stan?

Roy Thomas. Next question?

Mallet said...

I'd say the first 40 not 50. :-P

I wasn't trying to make fun of you just what Batman has become.

I'm sorry if there was any confusion.

Scipio said...

No, no offense taken, Mallet;

I just meant the whole "Batman is crazy" thing is vastly exaggerated. I think it's another example of lesser writers trying clumsily to follow a concept introduced by a greater writer (in this case, Morrison in "Arkaham Asylum").

David H. said...

DC owns the trademark to Major Victory. It's nothing like Captain Marvel. The trademark for that name wore off and Marvel Comics took advantage of that by creating a new character called Captain Marvel. When DC brought back Captain Marvel, they were able to use the name because the character existed previously.

But, you'll notice that no TV show, no movie, and no comic book can have the name Captain Marvel. It has to be Shazam.

Major Victory is a common term, but so is Wolverine, Hulk, and Thing. You can remake the movie, "The Thing," but if you were to create a brand new character called the Thing and he was a superhero, well then Marvel is going to sue.

logocult said...

Major Victory as Captain Marvel (for Shazam! movie)