The Thrill Of Alternative Mythologies

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 12.06% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

My wife didn’t know a thing about the DC Universe beyond the obligatory pop-culture references.  She knew the Flash existed, but didn’t really have any knowledge about him beyond “he moves fast.”  She knew Green Lantern had a ring, but had zero idea that there were multiple ring-bearers, like James Bond, each with their own fan base.
Zatanna or Gorilla Grodd?  Clueless.
But then we watched the animated Justice League show together, which she loved.  And why not?  It’s one of the best animated kids’ shows ever, with some surprisingly deft plotting.  And slowly she warmed to the Flash’s naive charm, fell in love with the Martian Manhunter, discovered that Jon Stewart was her huckleberry and my God why aren’t he and Hawkgirl together 4eva.
Then we watched Young Justice, which isn’t quite the animated DCU – it’s clearly a different timeline from Justice League, but it’s kind of like Justice League.  Enough to crib off of.
And we were watching, and Amazo the Adaptive Robot showed up, and she clenched my arm and whispered, “Oh, shit.”
Now: Amazo had yet to do anything.  But Gini had watched all of the Justice League, and she had learned: whenever Amazo showed up, shit got serious.  Curb-stompings happened.  Amazo is perhaps the most terrifying opponent in all the animated JLA…
…and she now knew enough of the mythology to tremble at the mere appearance of Amazo.
And that’s a secret joy we comics fans don’t talk about a lot.  As I’m watching The Flash with my daughter and my wife, someone pops on-screen and I lose my fucking mind.  “That guy!” I yell, arms waving.  “It’s… that guy!”  And I don’t want to give spoilers, but That Guy is a very significant name in the DCU and I know some of where this is going, and I can’t wait to find out how they do it.  Likewise, there’s a Very Significant flirtation going on in this show between Barry and one other character, and on one level I’m totally BARRY AND HER FOREVER, but on another level I know that her name is the secret identity of another superperson, and as such this cannot work out.
That’s a secret joy of watching adaptations.  Yeah, the endless retreats get tiring sometimes.  But when a show gets it right, and fires on all gears like The Flash does, then I have that anticipation of going, “Professor Ronnie Raymond?” and having a brief window into knowing what sorts of stories are going to be told about this guy.
It’s not spoiler territory.  Not quite.  I don’t know if this universe will go that route, or if in fact Barry’s sorta-smoochy friend is going to become who she is in the comics.  They’re not obligated to.  Sometimes they don’t.
But that single name-drop generates excitement.  It’s a mythology.  And it’s so exciting to watch how this show unfolds around that legacy.

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