Wild and Loony Tiger

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Aug 142011

I didn’t expect this to go down. I should have, given Maverick’s power, but I didn’t expect him to go full bore with his mind control powers.

It’s a cool twist, but the timing’s a bit off.

We still have, what, five or six episodes left in the series? This isn’t the absolute climax or anything like that, so it doesn’t bother me too much but now doesn’t seem to be the right time to pull a “now you must fight your friends” story.

What throws me off is that this sort of “now you have to face your own kind” story never really feels right when we’re still in the first season/story/movie of a series. It’s like the first Tom Cruise Mission Impossible movie. In that one, Cruise gets disavowed right away. We get a brief IMF mission to start the movie, but immediately after that he gets disavowed by the IMF and he’s forced to work outside the organization to clear his name. That’s the sort of plot that’s cool after we’ve had, like, one or two MI movies, but to start things off with that sort of story feels counterproductive. I wanna see the norm in this sort of thing before we invert the formula.

While we’ve seen a good amount of Tiger and Bunny’s world thus far, it still feels too early to toss Tiger out of the system and turn him into a pariah. Maverick’s plan is pretty brilliant (If not without holes, but we’ll get to that in a bit), but narratively-speaking this doesn’t seem to be the right time to pull this off. This feels like a season two sort of thing– where the safety that’s been established after a major season-ending resolution is shattered or something. Like, this would work better if Tiger and Bunny seemingly took down Ouroboros at the end of this season, but suddenly BAM! Maverick turns around and reveals himself to be the mastermind behind everything and he shatters everyone’s illusion that all that shit from the first season had been resolved.

The timing’d feel a good bit better if they pulled it off that way. But still, it’s a fun twist. I just couldn’t help but feel that this wasn’t the right time to do the twisting.

Anyway, Maverick’s scheme is great. He’s robbed Tiger of everyone of importance that knows his secret identity. His family and his former corporate liaison buddy who now drives a taxi know who he is, but they don’t have the sort of influence that can alter Maverick’s scheme. Tiger’s identity hasn’t been stolen so much as the meaning of his identity has been rendered meaningless. He’s still Kotetsu, but to everyone that “matters” that doesn’t mean the same thing anymore. That’s some scary existential shit going on there, since it doesn’t matter if you know who you are if everyone you interact with thinks you’re a grandmother-murdering, psychopathic bastard. You still know who you are, but there’s jack shit you can do to convince your friends otherwise. That’s scarier than waking up and not knowing who you are– like one of those dreams where you know you’re dreaming but you can jar yourself awake.

Maverick’s plan would be damn near flawless if the only loose ends were normal people who are just as in the dark as Tiger. But there’s one person in the know that Maverick hasn’t considered: Lunatic.

Lunatic knows Kotetsu’s identity. He knows that he’s Wild Tiger. He isn’t like that security guard who can’t tell one dude in a mask from another because he sees far too many assholes try to sneak by him each day wearing a knockoff mask (That was an awesome bit right there, by the way, explaining why people don’t recognize Kotetsu with his pretty flimsy mask on: Any dude can slap a mask over his face and try to pass off as one of the “real” Heroes, and they do it all the time.). But Maverick had no way of knowing that Lunatic was in on Tiger’s identity, and even if he did know how in the hell was he gonna lure him in and mess with his memories without also knowing his identity?

Nope. Just like how Lunatic is the lone gunman messing around with the nice, tidy, “civilized” method of dealing with criminals via Hero TV, he’s also the wildcard that’s gonna fuck over Maverick’s scheme. He knows who Kotetsu is and he has firsthand knowledge that his guy would never murder an innocent person. He may still clash with Tiger initially, but Lunatic’s gonna be Tiger’s savior in this situation since he’s the only one that still knows the truth.

And that’s gonna be an awesome turn of events, since these two pretty much sit on completely opposite ends of the superhero spectrum. They’re gonna have to band together and take down Maverick’s scheme while finding a way to snap all of the other heroes back to their senses. And that all comes back to my initial view on this series: It’s awesome that these different views on heroism can coexist.

Also: That coffee scene where Maverick spiked Tiger’s coffee was brilliant. It’s an obviously comedic moment– the sort of thing we’ve seen in countless thrillers and the like– yet it was played completely seriously. And it worked on both levels.