The CW needs to be commended for their role in bringing superheroes onto the small screen. In comparison to their big screen counterparts, it can be argued that television suits the hero’s lifestyle far better than occasional film adaptions do, allowing the characters far more screentime, and ultimately relaying the feel of serialized issue-to-issue storytelling in a proper episodic format. With immensely successful efforts, such as Smallville, Arrow, and The Flash, to their name, the CW have paved an all new golden age for many of DC Comic’s most iconic heroes with an all new medium.
CW has even made excellent strides at making their onscreen universe all the more compelling by connecting their properties into a chronological and overarching story. As we’re well aware, Arrow has paved the way for The Flash to inhabit the very same television universe. This ultimately hurt the storytelling quality of Arrow’s 3rd season, but what we received with the Flash strongly made up for it. For better or worse, this onscreen universe is only going to get larger with the next CW series, Legends of Tomorrow.
Before any of that though, we’ll be treated to a six-episode webseries, this time in the form of an animated cartoon. Said to take place around episodes 15 and 16 of Arrow, this webseries follows Vixen, a lesser known DC Comics character who can mimic the abilities of any animal that has ever lived.
“What we really need is a short animated webseries about Vixen set in the same universe as the Flash and Arrow!” – A sentence that I can guarantee has never been uttered before. And my sentiments after watching the debut episode leave me questioning why it does actually exist.
Let me just put it out there: the little we are given isn’t terrible. And yet it leaves so much more to be desired than it actually delivers upon. It’s so short that I doubt the accumulated time of all 6 episodes will amount to the length of even one of its prime time contemporaries’. Subtracting the opening and closing credits, the first episode doesn’t even hit a length of five minutes. I don’t know about you, but no series has ever captivated me within it’s first five minutes, and that’s where Vixen fails most gravely. It’s too short to even begin to enjoy.
It took me longer to find the first episode, and get it to actually play, than the time allotted. Using my iPad, I had to first download the CW Seed app (CW Seed is their free web-based programming), and then find Vixen. I have had a long history of trying to get their normal CW app to work for me, and knew immediately this was going to be a struggle. I was using Starbucks WiFi to watch it, so perhaps that was the issue, but it just did not want me to play the damn thing. (I’ve never had an issue sreaming anything off YouTube in a Starbucks, I’ll have you note.) Either it would freeze on the opening advertisement, or it would freeze on the opening credits. And then when it would play it was only audio. After many relaunches, I finally got the thing to work. And the hassle honestly just wasn’t worth it.
We see a brief scene where she is on the run and neither Flash nor Arrow could catch her (which frankly, is ridiculous), and it was cool seeing her use her powers to evade them as she did. Next we see her, Mari McCabe, imprisoned three days earlier for stabbing a potential employer in the hand with a pen. She did this because he made a sexual advance on her which didn’t sit very well with her. Or me.
Throughout the episode we see individuals gravitate towards a particularly ugly necklace, which was… interesting. I didn’t really get the appeal, but that’s just me. The first was a police officer trying to buy it off of Mari – a recently bailed prisoner – for his wife, which is mad grimy (if you’ll excuse my NY slang), and really awkward writing. The second instance is minutes later, as a guy holds her at gunpoint over it. Must be a really nice necklace… Or, the writers are simply trying to stress it’s relevence to the plot in the short time they’ve given themselves. Anyway, the man holding her at gunpoint calls her by an unsavory title.
The fact that it’s a cartoon based off a prime time series conveys, to me at the very least, that this is a program for children. But, for whatever reason, its creators have decided that is not the intended audience – that this was created for a more mature crowd. But why?
Aside from completionism and the endeavor to devour any new shred of the Arrowverse, why would any grown adult actually care to sit through a program that doesn’t deliver in time or quantity what they actually desire? Why stress so fervently that this is a program to be consumed by adults?
Vixen is more of an oddity to me than a commodity. There’s not enough to realistically get oneself hooked, the intended audience is very strangely suggested, and neither the writing nor it’s animation style stun in any particular way. It would be best to just wait for all six episodes to air than attempt to watch this on a weekly basis.