Stargirl S2E1 TV REVIEW: "Summer School" a fresh start for creator Geoff Johns & the growing JSA


Courtney and Yolanda on their last day of school

Stargirl season two premiered with "Summer School" this past Tuesday after a year long hiatus thanks to… that thing that will make people angry. I won’t mention it anymore. Over half of the school year has passed since the newly formed Justice Society of America defeated the Injustice Society of America. Let’s double check who is no longer with us for Season Two: Henry King Sr. aka Brainwave, his son Henry King Jr., principal Anya Bowin aka The Fiddler, Dr. Shiro Ito aka Dragon King and Jordan Mahkent aka Icicle. The helicopter parents from Hell, Sportsmaster and Tigress, are in prison. The human Foghorn Leghorn known as The Gambler has vanished, along with Cindy Burman and Solomon Grundy.


Stargirl and Dr. Mid-Nite on patrol in Blue Valley

The cutesy small town of Blue Valley appears to be in no danger at all for the time being. Begrudgingly, Courtney has become relentless in ensuring the safety of the town by researching everything she can about past ISA members and leading nightly reconnaissance with Wildcat, Hourman, and Dr. Mid-Nite. While Courtney’s focus is solely on her work as Stargirl, the other members of the JSA have personal troubles going on in their own lives. Geoff Johns does a great job of smoothly weaving their personal stories into the overall plot. It is very obvious that the teens' work as heroes is one relationship, but they are definitely not a tight-knit group of best friends otherwise, save somewhat for Courtney and Yolanda (Wildcat). The foundation is certainly there if the show’s story arc for the season is to create tension within the group.


Across town, Pat and Barbara prepare for a two week vacation away with Courtney and Mike as well as that adorable, smooshy faced English bulldog Max. Pat seems to make a huge mistake in all of his preparations, however. We'll see if it turns out to be favorable for him or not in episodes to come. On another note, he and Barbara have resolved the marital issues that popped up last season. Mike, Pat’s son who was ignored for most of the first season, is now making waves and being quite resolute in what he wants his future to be. I really hope his character plays an actual significant part in this season. Actor Trae Romano has got the sarcastic, wise-guy kid role down, like a PG-rated Bud Bundy.

Introducing the new Green Lantern, Jennie-Lynne Hayden.

The moment that everyone has likely been waiting for (as gleaned from the Season 2 trailer) is the introduction of Green Lantern’s daughter, Jennie-Lynn Hayden aka Jade. Her father is Alan Scott, this Earth's first Green Lantern and JSA member, who (in our universe) first appeared in All-American Comics #16 in July 1940. We meet Jennie in a memorable way, which is not to be missed. I'm curious to see if Jennie/Jade has metahuman powers of her own, just as she does in the comics. If the answer is yes, there is no telling how Courtney will react to this newcomer, as Jennie will have everything Courtney desperately desires: a powerful father, a heroic family legacy, and great powers of her own. Even though we saw her fully accept Pat as her true father at the end of the first season, there could still be unresolved feelings within her, what with her biological father's rejection of her, and Starman not being her biological dad.


Of course the premiere episode of Season 2 can't end without a peek into what evil is lurking in the hidden tunnels of Blue Valley. An old face makes a quiet return to town. Looks like the peace within Blue Valley has run its course, and the trouble Stargirl so desperately searches for has arrived. We'll see what unfolds next week, but for now, this premiere has been a good departure from the first season. Creator Geoff Johns said in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly: "I really wanted to still make it feel like Stargirl, but also not repeat what we did before, and tonally take us down more of a horror angle this season." We definitely get this vibe at the start of the episode. Johns also discusses the lessons that he has learned from the first season, as far as character introduction and pacing of the story. Fingers crossed there was also more money for production to improve the costumes this season.


Stargirl airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST on The CW, and streams the next day at cwtv.com


RECOMMENDED READING:

First appearance of Jade: All-Star Squadron #25

Most recent appearance of Jade: Dark Nights: Death Metal

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