“Vixen” Review

Well, I’m all settled in now, so it’s time to start doing those episode reviews I promised… and just in time too, with “The Flash” and “Arrow” returning this week. I won’t post reviews for any other past episode before this point, and will start the new ones with tomorrow’s episode of Gotham.

So, shall we begin?

For those of you who are unaware, “Vixen” is a cartoon made by The CW about Mari McCabe (voiced by Megalyn Echikunwoke), a woman who holds the power of a magical totem that allows her to take on the attributes of animals. While she isn’t as well-known as The Flash or Green Arrow, her show, which is only posted online, has gained a following of fans from the other DC CW shows. If you want to go watch it, there are six episodes at only five minutes each and can be found on CW Seed here.

The story goes that Mari was adopted at a young age by a couple from Detroit. No one had any knowledge of her history except for a mysterious necklace that came with her, which Mari received from her mother when she was 10. After her mother’s death, Mari left to explore the world and make a name for herself in fashion design. She returned to Detroit one night for a job interview, but after stabbing her horny would-be boss in the hand with a pen, she ended up in jail. Her bail gets paid by her foster father, Chuck. On the way home, they’re attacked by some muggers who demand the necklace. It’s then that the necklace gives Mari the strength of a gorilla to save herself and Chuck.

The next day, Mari goes to visit Dr. Macalester, a college professor who focuses in African artifacts. He explains to her that it resembles a necklace given to the people of the village of Zimbizi by the trickster god Anansi, so that they could use it to protect their home. It was said to give its wearer the powers of the animal kingdom. Returning home, Mari begins using  the necklace, showing a disbelieving Chuck what she could do. Unfortunately, this catches the eye of Cisco Ramon, one of the scientists at S.T.A.R. Labs, causing The Flash and The Arrow to go to Detroit to investigate. Showing up at her house, they ask to talk to her, but Mari, having spent time in Central City, knows that The Flash tends to lock up all superpowered people he finds, causing her to try to escape from the pair, resulting in an epic fight that ends when Mari tells the pair that she isn’t a metahuman, and Felicity explaining that she wasn’t in Central City at the time of the accident that created the metahumans. She threatens them, telling them to leave her and Chuck alone, before leaving.

She returns to Dr. Macalester for help, only to find out that he’d sold her out to a bunch of mercenaries led by an African woman, who had also hired the earlier muggers, in hopes of getting the necklace. Mari tries to give it to them, but she can’t take it off, causing them to chase her down and kidnap her, bringing her back to the African village of Zambizi, where she was born. It’s revealed that the mercenaries’ leader was actually her older sister, Kuasa, who believed herself to be the true guardian of the necklace. After breaking her connection with the necklace with the use of a spider, the “true form of Anansi”, they steal the necklace and leave her for dead. However, Mari is approached by a number of animal spirits, who give her the strength to battle her sister and take back the necklace.

Returning to Detroit, she decides to use her powers to protect her home, Detroit, donning a brown leotard. She gets the seal of approval from The Arrow and The Flash, who tells her that Cisco kept calling her Vixen. She takes the name, and the series ends.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I’ll admit there were a few things I didn’t like. For one, the animation seemed awkward at times, especially any time it showed The Arrow’s face. Also, they made The Flash act like an amalgam of Cisco and himself. However, I think that the biggest problem with the series was that it was far too short, clocking in at around a half an hour – less than the length of any “Flash” or “Arrow” episodes.  I immensely enjoyed the series. I think that they made Mari into a great, likable character, and didn’t focus on the fact that she was an African-American, female hero, instead just taking it in stride (unlike the upcoming “Supergirl” show. I would like to make it known that I’m not against non-white and/or female superheroes, but I don’t like it when they make it a large focus). I like that. I also like the story. It was intriguing and fun, being more similar to “The Flash” than the much darker “Arrow”. I doubt that this show would’ve been good had it been that dark. Now what I’m hoping for is that they move her over to the live action shows eventually, because this would look great on the big screen, and Megalyn definitely looks the part.

Also, high fives to the actors from “The Flash” and “Arrow” who did voices for the animated versions of their live action characters in this show.

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