Sunday, October 25, 2015

Who is... The Lumberjack?

Back in February I re-watched "Supergirl: The Movie" in response to news surfacing about Supergirl, the TV show, which finally premiers tomorrow. I've avoided hearing much about the show, preferring to watch the commercials and be surprised rather than go in with high (or low) expectations, but I did manage to pick up one piece of information somehow: in the first episode, Supergirl will face down... The Lumberjack.

I had no idea who that is.

After some googling, I discovered that the Lumberjack appeared one time, ever, in DC Comics:

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"Wonder Woman" #268, from June, 1980. He's not even from a Supergirl comic.

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Yes, Supergirl. A hand-me-down villain borrowed from someone else's book, but that's pretty common for Supergirl, actually. While Batman, the Flash, and to a lesser extant Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern, and other heroes have iconic galleries of foes, Supergirl has never really built up a rogue's gallery of her own. While she has fought some characters more than once, for the most part she fights villains from all over the DC Universe. Off the top of my head, people like Silver Banshee (borrowed from Superman), Lex Luthor (again from Superman), Chemo (from the Metal Men), Gorilla Grodd (from the Flash), and so on. It's hard to build an entire superhero show around Blackstarr, Psi, and Satan Girl, so it makes sense that the show's creators will draw on DC's rather extensive character stable.

What makes less sense is why they chose to start with this particular character. Who is the Lumberjack, anyway?

Our story opens on the beach in the south of France, with Animal Man rubbing lotion all over Wonder Woman:

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What the hell? He's married, Wonder Woman. MARRIED. He has kids and everything.

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For him rubbing lotion all over you?

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What kind of comic book is this, anyway?

You said something about an explanation, Wonder Woman?

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Let's just get to it, then.

It turns out that Wonder Woman and Animal Man are in the south of France rubbing each other down because they found a map last issue that told them to go there:

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Last issue being "Wonder Woman" #267:

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which opened with Wonder Woman flying up to some animals in response to a tip she got while interrogating El Gaucho:

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which apparently happened in an even earlier issue:

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"Wonder Woman" #264:

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which opens with Wonder Woman already captured by El Gaucho:

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and you know what? I don't care about the first part of that story. It's a flashback too far. We'll just start figuring out who the Lumberjack is here, with Wonder Woman in the clutches of a man dressed like an Argentinian cowboy on a flying horse. El Gaucho drops Wonder Woman to her death, but she breaks the rope and, chasing him, runs right into his evil plan:

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Attacking the US capitol with giant birds.

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And some of the giant birds are robots, with bombs inside. Maybe I want to track down that first issue with El Gaucho after all, since it seems like it might easily be at least as partially insane as the time that Wonder Woman fought child slaving lesbian jewel thieves and their street gang.

Anyway, while Wonder Woman is dealing with the giant bird bombs, El Gaucho, a man dressed as a culturally insensitive Halloween costume, is trying to assassinate a senator by breaking into the capitol:

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Wonder Woman defeats El Gaucho pretty easily:

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unaware that the whole thing is the plot of a sinister mastermind:

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in a giant sub:

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on its way to the south of France.

Meanwhile, Wonder Woman follows El Gaucho's tip to an African safari hunting ground outside of Washington, DC. After a lot of boring exposition explaining who Animal Man is, why he's a superhero, and how the same mysterious group set up a friend of his, the two of them find a secret base under the safari:

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filled with evil soldiers:

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Just in case you couldn't tell they were evil by the fact that they're shooting at Wonder Woman, their helmets are helpfully labeled with skulls.

Wonder Woman and Animal Man defeat the evil soldiers, find the map to the south of France, and we pick up again where we started, on the beach, where assassins have come for their target, Msr. Krispin:

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Wonder Woman and Animal Man defeat the assassins and load the Krispins into her invisible plan, handily escaping:

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This leaves the shadowy mastermind furious, and he has no choice but to reveal his trio of superpowered assassins:

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One of these, finally, is clearly the Lumberjack:

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What's unclear is why he was in a circus sideshow. Some guys bite the heads off of live chickens, some ladies have bears, and some guys... chop wood? A lot? Maybe he was shunned by some anti-logging industry protestors? It's never really explained, and before you know it the trio of assassins are attacking the Krispins:

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but the Lumberjack never speaks:

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and actually shows up in less than a dozen panels, total. Wonder Woman is captured, and the gloating mastermind finally reveals himself:

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It's someone else I've never heard of! Who would have guessed?

Anyway, Wonder Woman defeats him by throwing the assassins at him:

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And she and Animal Man call it a day.

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That's a great question, Supergirl. What does this tell us about the show?

Potentially, the Lumberjack's appearance could be setting up a longer arc with multiple assassins, shadowy cartels, and a secret mastermind and potential ongoing nemesis.

Or the show could be a hot mess of exploding birds and bad costumes.

I guess I'll have to watch tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Arrow has had the following "Non-Green Arrow" villians-
Ra's Al Ghul <-- Batman
Double Down <-- Flash
Damian Dahrk <-- Teen Titans
Slade Wilson <-- Teen Titans
Deadshot <-- Batman
Bronze Tiger <-- Various

So I don't see any issues with characters being pulled from other characters as long as they're portrayed correctly.....

Justin Bower said...

The lumberjack is just a misunderstood hipster. His superpower is the ability to have liked things way before they were mainstream. His weapons are vinyl discs of obscure bands that he produces from his man-bun and beard. His only weakness is non-organic, non-free trade, non-local coffee.