Stargirl Review Season 1, Episode 2: S.T.R.I.P.E.
WARNING, spoilers ahead (yes, this is that kind of review).
This episode picks up right where Episode 1 ended, with Courtney limping away from the battle with Brainwave, who finds Courtney’s half charred school ID and begins a hunt to track down the rookie superhero. Pat picks up Courtney in the S.T.R.I.P.E. armor and they head back to Pat’s repair shop in town to discuss the Brainwave and his cohorts in crime, The Injustice Society of America. Meanwhile, Brainwave meets up with the Wizard, who is hiding under his alter ego as a city councilman for Blue Valley. At the same time, Pat begins to give Courtney more info on what happened after the final battle between the JSA and the ISA, stating that Hourman survived and had tracked the ISA across the country to Blue Valley before dying in an auto accident.
As we move through this episode we see Pat working out in the S.T.R.I.P.E. armor, Courtney transforming Starman’s old costume into the classic Stargirl outfit, and we begin meeting different townsfolk, any of whom might be Injustice Society members in disguise. Our story culminates with Courtney and Dr Henry King (AKA Brainwave) attending Blue Valley High School’s open house night to try to find the other. At the open house Brainwave gives Courtney an ultimatum, turn the staff over to him or her mother dies. But it’s Pat in the S.T.R.I.P.E. armor who goes to battle the villain in order to protect his family. Courtney soon follows, believing it is what her father (who she believes is Starman) would want her to do. Meanwhile, Pat is battling the Brainwave in the parking lot of Blue Valley High, and not fairing so well. Courtney arrives just in time to join in as Stargirl. She is able to land a few good hits before being overpowered by Brainwave who goes in the for the kill but is distracted by an assist from Pat just long enough for Courtney to disable Brainwave’s mind with the Cosmic Staff. Brainwave is left in a coma, and Pat and Courtney come to accept each other and the mission to track down the Injustice Society and bring them to justice. Our episode ends with the Icicle (AKA Jordan Mahkent) arriving at ISA headquarters (located under the American Dream corporation building). There he meets with Steven Sharpe (AKA the Gambler) who is another member of the ISA to discuss the new Starman.
The episode really sets the stage for several different things. First, the big mystery of first season: What is the Injustice Society doing in Blue Valley, and what does the American Dream corporation have to do with those plans? It’s obvious that many of the members of the ISA are in town, and whatever they are doing, they are willing to kill anyone (women, children, etc.) who gets in their way. Second, we see a relationship forming between Pat and Courtney tied to their mutual interest in the JSA, but for different reasons. For Pat, it is to get justice for his fallen friends, and for Courtney, it is to unlock the mystery of her missing father. I enjoyed that this show really takes its villains as seriously as its heroes. The ISA characters have gotten dark in the face of a challenge to their plans. Even though Courtney is a young teen, Brainwave doesn’t hesitate to threaten her or her family, even though he is a father himself. This show also does well with such a large cast and moves quickly to set up the characters very effectively. The one drawback is the number of characters being introduced. Being a seasoned DC fan, I am used to so many characters appearing at any given time, and I am familiar with many JSA heroes and villains. For new watchers, however, it might be difficult to keep track of so many different characters and their significance both in DC lore and to the plot of this first season. Let’s see how that plays out in future episodes. Comeback tomorrow for review of Episode 3.
I give Episode 2 a B.
The Experience Is Everything!