Look out, Evil, THE TICK returns for Season 2!

Heroes and Villains in a Black and Blue World: The Tick, Season 2

I watched with much interest the first season of Amazon Prime’s reinvention of The Tick, an iconic lighthearted comic book hero of puns and goodness that still manages to critique the idea of super heroics in smart and entertaining ways.  I’m old enough to remember a cartoon, and probably some comic books back in the day. I’m also old enough to remember the first attempt at a live action version with Patrick Warburton back in 2001. I always enjoyed it. With the resurrection of The Tick on Amazon Prime, a whole new generation of viewers get to enjoy the broad and simpleminded heroism of the big blue, indestructible hero, and his trusty sidekick, Arthur. True goodness isn’t complicated, after all. And, violence has actually solved quite a lot of things, historically. When the might Tick discovers evil, he pursues it with a dogged persistence of a dog chasing another dog who is also evil. A good dog that chases bad dogs, and punches them into submission. That’s the Tick.

So, the reinvention of this cult classic had to make do with some serious changes. Many of the popular side characters, like American Maid, and Bat Manuel, have been reinvented to favor the sort of modern structure of television shows where each season is more of a miniseries than a distinct adventure. It works well. Season 1 followed the reemergence of The Terror, a wicked mastermind and jazz drummer, that once ran rampage over the population. His efforts to end the superpowered alien Superian was a zany and elaborate scheme that demonstrated everything that is wonderful about the Tick: inventive, full of interesting side characters that bounce off Tick’s strong and consistent persona, and Arthur as the true center of the cinematic universe bringing his vulnerable humanism to bear at critical moments.

And humanism seems to be the theme of Season 2. What is it that makes a man a monster? What is it that makes a monster a human? The bank robbing Lobstercules, a giant crustacean person with huge claws and huge strength at first appears to be an alien monster, but soon the plot twists reveal the complex motivations of her actions. At first, the government facility that monitors and measures and licenses super heroes seems to be a force for goodness, until the secrets unravel and the story gets more complex. Ultimately, the thing that saves the giant crustacean and the soulless government bureaucracy, A.E.G.I.S., is that very emotions that drive humanity’s brightest impulses: love. A lost father figure forgives a wayward son. A mother is saved along with her children from the clutches of forces that don’t even see them as human. And, the true monster is the idea of categorizing and controlling others, of seeing these exceptional humans and pseudo-humans with a cold and rational eye of domination and control.

The big standouts of Season 2 are John Hodgman’s star turn as John Hodgman. They call him something else, but he is John Hodgman playing John Hodgman and nobody does that better than John Hodgman. Yara Martinez’s Miss Lint is one of the best super-hero and/or super-villian characters on screen right now, and every scene with her is electric. (The Tick would approve that pun!) Her new sidekick, Edgelord, steals every scene. Also, nothing demonstrates The Tick’s great heroism like when he had to chew and spit out the disgusting starfish for the baby crustaceans. Punching evil is easy. Doing something horrifically gross for goodness is the true measure of a hero, and no one is more of a hero than The Tick!

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