15 bones to pick with the Heroes Season 3 premiere

Time to settle in, folks. This is gonna be a long rant.

Heroes is an interesting show because it succeeded where so many of its predecessors had failed: It is a popular, critically acclaimed prime-time drama that features superheroes as its primary focus. I give it credit for that, and for some of its fresh takes on existing ideas from the world of superhero fiction. But that’s as much praise as I’m going to send its way in this post. The rest of it is reserved for the MANY problems with the two-hour premiere of its third season, the “Villains” story arc.

SPOILERS ON!

Let’s count the Marvel and DC Comics references, shall we?

1-2) If you thought elements of season one were a little bit too reminiscent of Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s legendary X-Men story “Days of Future Past,” you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

One of the most famous X-Men stories in the titles history

One of the most famous X-Men stories in the title's history

Dystopian future where mutants (er, I mean strangely evolving humans) are hunted and put in concentration camps? Check. Time-travelling future version of a hero who is sent back to alter a pivotal moment in mutant/human relations? Check. Admittedly, they flipped the pivotal moment: Instead of preventing the assassination of anti-mutant Senator Robert Kelly, our hero committed (or attempted to commit) the assassination of pro-mutant Governor Nathan Petrelli.

3) X-Men fans might also recognize the none-too-subtle homages to Emma Frost (a.k.a. The White Queen) in Ali Larter’s new character.

Does that outfit look familiar?

Does that outfit look familiar?

Compare: Emma Frost is a tough-as-nails, beautiful, results-driven woman who dresses in white lingerie, uses sex to advance her career goals, and is known as the White Queen. Tracy Strauss is a tough-as-nails, beautiful, results driven woman who dresses in white lingerie (at least at home), uses sex to advance her career goals, and may soon be referred to as “The Ice Queen.” Emma can turn her skin into unbreakable diamond, Tracy can turn things to ice. The powers are different, but thematically similar.

4) What about the new villains we were promised? Might they seem a bit familiar (at least in this pairing) to Marvel comics readers? Let’s see, we have a mutant with magnetic powers (Magneto), one with fire powers (Pyro), Peter is trapped inside the one with sonic powers (Avalanche), and a fourth who has yet to use his powers on-screen. If his power is a six-foot prehensile tongue (Toad), the ability to create illusions (Mastermind), shapeshift (Mystique) or just kick serious ass (Sabretooth) then their little criminal fraternity (The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants) is a complete set of rip-offs.

5) It seems Mohinder Suresh couldn’t decide which superhero he wanted to rip off more: Captain America or Spider-Man. Injecting himself with an untested serum designed to give superhuman abillities (a twist on Cap’s super-soldier serum origin) he gains superhuman strength and agility, as well as the ability to stick to walls (he was totally sticking to them, by the way. They didn’t even try to make it look like he was actually gripping anything.) But what’s this? Could he be turning from Spider-Man into the Man-Spider?

Yes, it really happened in the comics.

Yes, it really happened in the comics.

The fact that he’s drinking so much milk seems to hint at increased bone growth, so he may end up more like Marrow (or Abomination from this year’s Incredible Hulk movie.)

6) This last homage is from DC Comics. In the year-long weekly series 52, (its name an homage to 24‘s title and episode structure) Lex Luthor cracked the formula for unlocking the potential for metahuman abilities in most human beings (delivered via syringe) and plans to sell it to the world at large. While initially warned that using the formula on himself would have disastrous consequences, he eventually does it anyway and gains phenomenal powers before said consequences nearly kill him. Mohinder Suresh stumbles upon a formula for unlocking the potential for metahuman abilities in all human beings (delivered via syringe) and plans to make it available to the world at large. He knows that the formula is untested and that using it on himself could have disastrous consequences, but he does it anyway. The serum gives him phenomenal powers, but it remains to be seen whether or not the consequences will nearly kill him.

Now that we’re done with the frequent nods to comic books, let’s move on to the horrible inconsistencies in story and in common sense!

A) Sylar has the power to throw an armored truck with his mind, but can’t break open a slotted wooden closet door?!! Let’s count the ways he could have gotten around that

0) Before we start, his super hearing (remember that power? apparently he doesn’t) should have told him right away where Claire was hiding. That’s just inexcusable. Then again, he’s never used his super hearing, so maybe he forgot he even had it.

I) TK smash the door. If you’ve got enough brute telekinetic force to flip a truck, and enough precision to slice the top of someone’s head off without harming their brain, you should have no problem with a door that any normal human could kick open.

II) Freeze the lock, then smash it. He’s got ice powers, and they make things brittle! Now even a child could kick the thing open!

III) Turn the lock to liquid. Another power he has, but never uses. That poor guy from the Burger King and Arby’s commericals died so that we could see it in action, yet he’s never once used it. what a gyp!

IV) Blow the lock, and the entire door to bits with a nuclear fireball. Apparently all they’re good for is making a tiny light show while standing on the edge of a roof and looking menacing, though.

V) I wish there was a way to have him use Charlie’s power of instant learning, but I can’t think of one. That’s never-used power #3.

Instead, what does he do? He demonstrates some strange new power we’ve never seen before! It’s either stealth-like-ninja powers of hiding in plain sight, or he actually did learn Candice’s powers of illusion even though he couldn’t manifest them at the time.

B) I am very disappointed in Noah Bennett. Who leaves their top-secret files on the most dangerous super-criminals ever apprehended by the company in a cardboard box in plain sight in their home! Not even a locking file cabinet! Talk about security risks. What if Mr. Muggles decided to do his doggy business in the box when no one was home?

C) I am also disappointed in the Company’s attempts to apprehend Sylar. They had him dead-bang in broad daylight on a suburban street. “Hmm, what team should we send after the dangerous sociopath with the inherent knowledge of patterns and a list of powers so long even he doesn’t seem to know how many he has? I know! Let’s send the girl whose power is to breathe in any atmosphere. He can’t possibly defend against such power! And for armament, let’s give one of them a taser and let the other fend for herself. After all, what possible defense could he have against an ordinary taser and … nothing?” Somebody should have been fired for that.

D) I’m also disappointed in the Company’s lack of security contingency measures. They put all of their most dangerous super-criminals together in one area of the facility, and linked all of their cells’ security measures on the same electrical circuit. If somebody cuts the power (or shorts it out, like Elle’s involuntary lightning spasm did) they all go free! Why would there ever be a backup for such a thing, right? Furthermore, why didn’t they just kill the supervillains? It’s not as if the Company is above killing superhumans who refuse to go along with their plans. Noah Bennett and Claude had to do it all the time! The only reason they didn’t kill Adam Monroe was because they couldn’t kill him, no matter how hard they tried!

E) Since when did Linderman become The Great Gazoo to Nathan’s Fred Flintstone? (or, if you prefer BSG references, the Number Six to his Gaius Baltar).

F) What’s up with this new speedster lady? Initially, when Hiro stops time, she stops with it. She’s got a vapor trail, but she’s stopped. Suddenly she starts walking and talking, and we learn that she’s completely unaffected by this time-stopping power. Then she peels out at her normal superhuman speed while time is still frozen. If that’s all true, why would she have been stopped in her tracks in the first place? Would she even have noticed, or would she have just kept running?

G) And speaking of Hiro’s time-manipulation abilities, he’s an awfully big hypocrite. He claims he won’t travel back in time ever again, but he does it for fun at his desk all day long ! How does that make any sense?

H) Future-Peter claims that he had to act the way he did because no one would understand what he was trying to do (namely to change the future for the better.) Does anybody remember that whole chunk of Season 1 that was dedicated to somebody from a dystopian future travelling back in time and telling our heroes how to avert the coming catastrophe? Clearly Nathan understood the meaning of “save the cheerleader, save the world” then, so why couldn’t he have been reasoned with again? It seems to me like Peter just wanted an excuse to kill his big bro.

I) Finally, I know that this season is called “Villains” and is supposed to be different from last season in that it actually has bad guys, but it seems like they’ve added far too many. How many do we need? We’ve got Angela Petrelli (the biggest of the big-bads, though no one ever seems to acknowledge this), Sylar, Adam Monroe (possibly, if Angela’s dreams are true), The Ghost of Linderman, Daddy Parkman (who may be behind the Ghost of Linderman), Tracy Strauss, Future-Peter, Future-Claire, the Speedster, and the Level 5 Gang. Plus we know that either Hiro or Ando will turn rogue at some point, and there’s a good chance that Suresh will end up being the leader of an evil faction as well. Maybe, just maybe, we might actually get to see a good fight between heroes and villains this season. But judging by the strength of these episodes, I somehow feel they’ll manage to screw even that up.

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3 Responses

  1. Did Sylar give Claire brain damage so she cant feel pain, and if so, how does that work with her regenerative abilities? What happened to the whole first seasons story line about save the cheerleader save the world. How do you save someone that cant die? Maybe Hiro should of just told Peter to not let Sylar get his hands on her. That way they could hunt for him instead of looking for her.
    Does Mohinders story line this season remind any one of Jeff Goldbloom in the “Fly”?

  2. the reason is why sylar cant use the “3 never used powers” is because Sylar’s powers were, effectively, reset at the beginning of season2 when he cudnt use them remember? All he had left was his natural ability ( intuitive aptitude) and TK

    but i suppose ur right about the TK the door thing tho lol

  3. Suresh was Dark Beast, very Hank McCoy injecting himself with a serum that goes wrong. Season three was the whole age of apocalypse thing with the Evil Mutant with his acolytes for Mutant kind type thing.

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