Best Comic TV 2019: Characters!

The Wentworth Miller Award for Best Guest Star!

Not for series regulars, or major recurring characters, but those who dropped by a show for a few episodes, and crushed their limited screen time, like Captain Cold in the first season of The Flash.

Tyler Hoechlin was still great as Superman during Elseworlds, I wish he could drop by more often; Vinnie Jones reprising Brick almost made Arrow’s prison arc worthwhile on its own; and while I truly believe everything about his character is terrible, Cameron Monaghan continued to play the crap out of Jeremiah Valeska on Gotham.

But these three brought a little more heat to their appearances.

Bronze: Mark Sheppard as Willoughby Kipling, Doom Patrol

DC has almost as many trench coat-wearing mystics as it does mad scientists. Which is a lot.
Image: DC Universe

Professional Awesome Guest Star Mark A. Sheppard dropped by Doom Patrol for a couple of episodes… son of a… I named this award after somebody, and it wasn’t Mark Sheppard? Damn it. No… no. I stand by my choice.

One of the key ways that early Doom Patrol pushed its leads from damaged shut-ins to damaged heroes was through having some crisis pop up that the Chief normally would have dealt with that now fell on whoever was available that week. And the biggest kick out the door (if not the best, that still being Danny the Street) was Willoughby Kipling, a British mystic out to save the world from the Decreator, and now has nothing but a bunch of broken trauma survivors to do it, thanks to Mr. Nobody abducting the Chief. Which allowed Mark Sheppard to have some fun slinging around reliquaries from various celebrities and yelling at people in a desperate attempt to keep the world spinning.

Man, I always love a good Mark Sheppard appearance.

Silver: Lili Simmons as Adult Selina Kyle, Gotham

Embracing her role as Woman of Felines
Image: Fox

For 99 episodes, Gotham’s Selina Kyle was played by Camren Bicondova, and she played kid Selina well… but for all of her talents, “not looking 16” wasn’t among them. So when the finale jumped forward ten years, at Camren’s suggestion, they brought in a ringer… Lili Simmons as Selina Kyle, age 28.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that Lili Simmons looks so very much like an older Camren, but she sold the hell out of her one appearance. High society Selina storming the Wayne Enterprises reopening for a terse word with her ex, cat-like female burglar Selina, and her emotional reunion with hidden, Bat-suited Bruce, confronting him for walking away without a word ten years ago. “I didn’t want to be protected,” she says, not turning to face him. “I wanted you!”

And in that moment I found myself wanting grown Selina to get a spin-off. If making me want a spin-off of Gotham doesn’t earn you a place here, honestly, what could?

Gold: Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor, Supergirl

He wants to forget Two and a Half Men as much as we do.
Image: CW

Okay, sure, Lex was ultimately the real main villain of Supergirl’s fourth season, but on the other hand, he was only in three episodes, so this is where he goes.

I wasn’t sure about Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor, given he’s spent the last decade and change being straight man to various low-effort Chuck Lorre antics, but damn he came to play. As sympathetic cancer-ridden Lex, trying to rekindle a relationship with his sister; as remorseless megalomaniac Lex, smugly saying “Superman made me do it” to the courtroom at his trial; kind mentor Lex grooming Supergirl’s clone Red Daughter for his own means; and cold-as-ice Lex revealing his deceptions. Jon Cryer was everything I wanted Lex Luthor to be.

The Tricia Helfer Award for Rookie of the Year!

A lot of new blood this season, but who elevated their show the way Tricia Helfer’s Goddess Charlotte elevated Lucifer?

(Honourable Mention: This seemed like Nora West-Allen’s category to lose, and maybe if they hadn’t spent so much of last season introducing her to set up this season it would have been. As it is… she’s not new, she’s been around since Crisis on Earth-X. Don’t introduce characters so early in the season if they’re not going to be relevant for an entire year, you aren’t Game of Thrones.)

Bronze: Katherine McNamara as Mia Smoak, Arrow

Preparing for an ass-whooping.
Image: CW

When Arrow revealed that the unknown man making his way to Lian Yu in the season premiere was Oliver’s son William Clayton in a flash-forward, I was interested enough to stay invested while Oliver Queen was in prison, which I established last year is not my favourite trope. When his half-sister Mia Smoak took over as lead of the flash-forward story? That’s when I thought I could get into a whole show in this time period.

Doesn’t hurt that they successfully made her one of the Arrowverse’s classic badass ladies.

No it didn’t make the podium for Best Fight, lots of things didn’t, that’s not the point.

Silver: Inbar Lavi as Eve, Lucifer

“They have a Sexy Me costume!”
Image: Netflix

It’s impressive enough to me just how much they managed to do with Eve in just seven episodes. She proved just as fascinating and impactful as the Goddess Charlotte, who had 19 episodes, and moreso than Cain, who had 23… actually he skipped a few… anyway.

We had deconstructing-biblical-figures Eve, who was created to love one man (the only man) that was still hung up on his ex, Lilith, and never got a chance to discover herself or her wants; Eve the party-girl old girlfriend, enabling Lucifer to backslide in the wake of a heartbreak with Chloe; clingy ex Eve, willing to change whatever she needs to about herself to win back Lucifer, to the point of ignoring Maze’s more available affections; and the Eve who realizes she needs to find herself instead of changing herself to earn love. And even a moment of regretful mother Eve, as Amenadiel assumes she’s come to Earth to get revenge on Lucifer for the death of her son, Cain… but life in Heaven means she met Cain’s final victim, and it turns out she’s still hasn’t completely forgiven Cain for killing Abel.

And Inbar Lavi killed every moment of it. She was the best example of how celestial beings tend to drop by Lucifer and end up in villainous roles without actually being villains, per se.

Well… Cain was an asshole, no getting around that, but the Goddess wasn’t all bad.

Gold: Nicole Maines as Nia Nal/Dreamer, Supergirl

The name Dreamer’s a little on the nose but we’ll forgive that.
Image: CW

To be honest, being TV’s first trans superhero might have been enough, but Nia’s more than a diversity box ticked. Even if they definitely approached the character saying “Let’s have a trans woman on the show this year” given their casting call for a trans actress to play her.

Nia’s strong, capable, steps up as National City’s protector when Kara can’t do it, and her interview coming out to the world as half-alien, trans-female, a Gryffindor, a Miranda, House Stark, and all the other things that make her her was one of the season’s more moving moments. Nia Nal’s been a very welcome addition to the Arrowverse.

Next page: The leads!

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