DC’s Stargirl – Summer School: Chapter One review S2 E1
Stargirl’s sophomore season easily staves off any signs of a slump. The season premiere felt like a seamless continuation of the surprise hit DC Universe/CW series.
Now fully shifted over to The CW, there was reason to be worried the show was going to see some significant budget cuts that impacted the high quality fight scenes and special effects. So far, the results are positive and Stargirl seems every bit as refreshing a superhero series as it was last year.
This season’s big bad is Eclipso and a flashback provides the first real tease. It’s a very well done scene even if it’s clearly influenced by the It films. A young girl named Rebecca meets a new kid in the neighborhood, who invites her to a party. The kid’s name is Bruce in a nice callback to Eclipso’s longest alter ego from the comics.
Rebecca is super impressionable and a pretty horrible kid in general snapping at her mother and stealing presents from a neighbor across the street so it’s hard to feel too bad when she gets eclipsed. The catch here is she was the daughter of Charles McNider aka Dr. Midnight.
Back to the present, Stargirl and the JSA haven’t managed to find any supervillain activity as the Injustice Society has been dormant since their big defeat. Since Blue Valley was a sleepy quiet town anyway it makes sense that it’s not exactly crawling with criminals requiring a beatdown.
That doesn’t make Courtney any less eager to find some crime to stop even if she’s got to go through Pat’s old JSA files to track down some bad guys. Per Degaton? Blackbriar Thorne? Baron Blitzkrieg? Gentleman Ghost?
Bonus points for calling out some classic JSA and All-Star Squadron villains. While Courtney finally agrees to go to bed, Green Lantern’s lantern lights up in storage.
Yeah, that’s alright, but what would be so cool? Seeing Jakeem Thunder show up soon.
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One of the great things about Stargirl is how the writers juggle the supporting cast and manage to develop their subplots without shortchanging Courtney.
Mike wants to get in on the family business, which was some interesting foreshadowing for later. Beth’s parents are prepping for a divorce. Her parents are kinda crappy in how they completely ignore her. The writers have already turned down her goofiness volume, which makes her far more sympathetic and likable.
Yolanda is still dealing with the emotional fallout of killing Brainwave. That’s something that would have easily been written off in other shows and it’s such a welcome development to see becoming a murderer affecting a hero. What a unique concept.
After a series of break-ins at fast food joints, Rick is realizing maybe he didn’t take out Solomon Grundy for good like he thought. Rick seems to have some remorse over how he beat down Grundy and drops off some food Batman: Long Halloween style. It’s refreshing to see these characters evolving as heroes already.
Pat brings Zeke (King Orba) in to help with the garage and it’s immediately apparent he’s going to stumble unto S.T.R.I.P.E. Zeke doesn’t want any details from Pat, but does have some ideas for upgrades. That should have been annoying, but it was actually pretty funny thanks to Orba just fully committing to playing Zeke so eccentric and wacky.
Turns out Zeke wasn’t necessary as Courtney failed some classes and has to take summer school. There goes the camping trip Pat and Barb had planned. They both go off on Courtney in a polite way as Barb asks “if putting on that mask worth messing up everything else in your life” while Pat tells her “The JSA isn’t the only team you’re a part of.”
Courtney is down after the browbeating, but snaps into action when someone (Ysa Penarejo) takes the lantern from the basement. After an inspired fight with some nice effects from the lantern and the ring, we finally get the reveal that she’s Green Lantern’s daughter. That’s cool to see Jade although it would be better for her to be green.
Cindy goes down to the ISA lair with her new summer project — creating Injustice Unlimited. Artemis definitely makes the cut. So does Cameron, but Cindy’s last recruit is most interesting as she wants Mike to join up. Cindy is emboldened thanks to the black diamond in her possession, but that’s not going to work out too well for her long term.
This episode didn’t have a ton of action, but showed how effortlessly effective Stargirl can be at making basic teen superhero life enjoyable. That’s a great sign as this season rolls out.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW