Watch the episode here.
I was probably more excited than most when it was announced that DC Comics’ Vixen would be animated for the small screen. Vixen is one of my all-time favorite characters and if you aren’t up on her, check out this and this. Marvel may be the heavyweight champs of the cinematic landscape, but DC are the lords and masters of the animation realm. Rarely does DC miss with their animated properties. So far, with Vixen, I think I’m going to have to put the first five-minute episode in the ‘eh… maybe’ column.
Yes. I know that it is the only episode, and that this episode was a handful of minutes long, but hell. Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” is three minutes and forty-six seconds long. The music video for El-P’s “Stepfather Factory” clocks in at 4:11. Is it fair to pit Vixen against music and music videos? Yeah as they all convey entertainment in a minuscule amount of time.
Episode one opens with the Arrow and the Flash pursuing Vixen through a metropolis. She is outmaneuvering them at every turn. She seamlessly cycles through various animal abilities to evade her pursuers. While at times the fight moves too rapidly, at other times it is quite beautiful. It is a silent battle filled with determination and astonishment (on the part of the Arrow, because Vixen was just so bad ass). When we finally hear anyone say anything, it is Vixen screaming as she falls off a building — she fell because she mad a mistake.
We cut from the fall and are treated to a close up of Vixen’s eye as she is laying on a cot, in her jail cell, with a caption that reads “Three Days Ago.” Before she fell, she was locked up? Word?
She is bailed out and as she is collecting her belongings from the property sergeant, another cop asks to buy her totem necklace because he forgot a gift for his wife’s birthday. For a split second, it looks as if she was willing to part with it, especially after the property sergeant counted out a measly twenty-six dollars to her name.
She exits the jail, still in possession of her totem necklace, when she finds out that her former foster father was the person who posted her bail. They have a meal and there is a little bit of adult-themed dialogue that was fairly clever. They leave the restaurant and are immediately accosted by a group of thugs who have no problem with calling her a bitch and attacking her foster father. End.
- The animation is on DC on point. It is beautiful to look at, even though the fight scene was a little hard to follow.
- Megalyn Echikunwoke’s voice talent is great. She gives Vixen some personality.
- It is freaking Vixen.
- Kind of light-skinned. I mean really light-skinned. Kind of in the ethnically ambiguous (i.e. “safe” color palette). Didn’t the animators watch Justice League Unlimited?
- We don’t know her name or code name. She is referred to as “McCabe” when she is being bailed out of jail. There was no real anchor/hook. I get that this is an origin story, but it would have been nice to have a few personal markers so I could care a little more.
- It takes place in the Flarrow-verse. While I love that ‘verse, I don’t think a character as dynamic as Vixen needs the Arrow or the Flash as a crutch. She has enough history to front her own show.
- It is animated. Her power-set might be too expensive for a weekly television program, but a live-action Vixen would be amazing. Hell, Megalyn Echikunwoke could play her.
Overall, I’d give Vixen a C+ or B-.
Yeah. I will be watching them all. I hope that the show-runners giver her the room she needs (and deserves) to shine.