Tonight's episode of Supergirl on CBS introduced fans to Red Tornado, a fan-favorite character from the comics with a long history that includes having "Hanson sucks" painted on his chest and getting imbued with the brain of Lois Lane.
...Hey, I never said comics weren't weird.
As ever, here I am, going over the episode with a fine-toothed comb to try and make some sense out of the DC Comics references and Easter eggs on display tonight.
So...what did we catch? What did we miss? Check it out, and comment below!
The Supergirl version of General Lane is described as a powerful military lifer -- and an overprotective father to both Lucy Lane and her sister, Lois. His arrival in National City stirs up trouble for Supergirl when he enlists her in a dangerous government initiative.
In the comics, Sam Lane has been depicted in a number of different ways over the years -- but pretty much always as a hard-edged military man who has difficulty communicating his love for his children. At one point in the pre-Flashpoint universe, he was the Secretary of Defense when Lex Luthor was President. Later, he would experiment on Lucy to give her a simulation of Kryptonian powers, resulting in her briefly taking up the Superwoman identity.
In the New 52, he has often been the Superman titles' military stand-in; he and Lex Luthor tortured Superman early in his career (during Grant Morrison's Action Comics run) in the hopes of getting information about his powers and whether he posed a danger to the world.
"TAKE IT UP WITH HER."
...So, there's apparently a female President of the United States in the world of Supergirl?
Interesting, but not without precedent in the super-world: back when Superman died in 1992, the Clintons had been elected but not yet inaugurated, and yet it was they who were depicted as delivering the Man of Steel's eulogy.
Of course, it's not clear here whether it's just a fictional POTUS or whether the assumption here is that it's a Clinton administration. We probably won't hear that unless the President actually becomes significant to the story.
In the comics, Red Tornado is an android imbued with a human intelligence and personality and created by the villain T.O. Morrow, whose sometime rival/sometime partner Anthony Ivo appeared on Arrow's second season.
There are a number of similarities between Red Tornado and The Vision, who was just introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Series producers Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti have also recently introduced The Atom into The Flash and DC's Legends of Tomorrow, mirroring Marvel's Ant-Man. It had been widely speculated that Ray Palmer's Arrow Season Three appearance as an armored, tech-driven hero was intended to steer clear of the similarities, but apparently someone has decided that there are too many similar superheroes out there to worry about ever using one.
Besides being a longtime member of the Justice League, Red Tornado served as a mentor to Young Justice when that team first assembled under the pen of longtime Supergirl writer Peter David.
Yeah, we're counting him separately.
On Supergirl, Morrow created Red Tornado essentially in his own image and the two characters are played by the same actor -- but in the comics, the two have mostly separate histories.
Morrow, who often teams with Anthony Ivo, has created other artificial life as well...and was both an antagonist and a reluctant hero in 52 and Booster Gold.
GORDON AND JIM
We've spotted what we think is a sly reference to Gotham.
As most fans know, Supergirl and Gotham air in the same time slot, the first time we can remember that superhero series hailing from the same publisher and production studio have gone head-to-head and a microcosm of the Batman V Superman dynamic that Warner Bros. is playing up in their next big movie.
Well, there's more than one way to see Jim Gordon on TV this Monday.
...Oh, wait, nevermind. That's Jim and Gordon. Who?
Well, as you can see above, there's apparently a morning show called Live With Gordon and Jim, which appears on Cat Grant's monitor bank during a report on a concert in National City. It's hard to imagine that somebody working on graphics for DC Entertainment show didn't just sneak those names onto the screen together to see if anybody noticed, so if that's the case, we noticed. Good on you, graphics person!
It's actually kind of surprising to see Cat Grant delivering a drunken lecture tonight.
Why? Well, we had previously seen her drinking a lot of virgin drinks and assumed she was dry.
In the comics, Cat is an alcoholic -- something that came between her and her son when her wealthy ex-husband used it (and her sex life) against her to get full costody. She eventually got past it, but was for years characterized as a recovering alcoholic.
I like the wink-and-a-nod reference to Rocky Balboa's unconventional training regimen.
For those who don't know, in Rocky, Balboa punched cow carcasses hanging at a butchery instead of a traditional punching bag (not for the whole movie -- just sometimes).
Interestingly, this hit just at the right moment, since Creed -- the latest film to feature Rocky -- is in theaters now from Supergirl producers Warner Bros.
Kara's anger over losing her whole life and childhood is more or less what separates her from Clark in many iterations of the character.
It's explained pretty clearly here, although it does conflict somewhat with Alex's previously-stated admiration for the way it never got Kara down.
All the screaming also kind of feels like the very famous shot of Henry Cavill screaming after Superman kills Zod.