Imagine you’re Arthur Everest, okay, it’s not hard. Arthur (Griffin Newman) is a boring little accountant with a fair amount of mental health issues and a healthy dose paranoia mixed with hero worship. Far too many of us are only minor variations of dear Arthur, except for one key thing, the world in which Arthur lives. For him, superheroes are commonplace, as are, unfortunately, supervillains, so normal in fact that up to five years ago or so, Arthur’s normal life was basically a cartoony version of Watchmen. (Don’t be hatin, that was a damn good movie if nothing else.)
See, those years ago, everyone’s favorite superhero group the Flag Five were struck down by The Terror (Jackie Early Haley), your standard notorious supervillain of the time. And while the American world was indeed devastated, no-one was more so than Arthur himself, but why is whole other story unto itself. Suffice to say, like all the damn rest of us, Arthur has his issues and his demons, and he deals with them sometimes well and sometimes poorly, as best he can. Arthur is fortunate to have a genuinely caring sister in Dot (Valorie Curry), who nearly constantly chases after our reluctant hero with determination, but has some very interesting secrets of her own, gleaned from a moonlighting EMT job she somehow got into. Arthur’s parents, his mom and odd stepfather, are more or less what you’d expect from the standard American middle-upper class, and do seem genuinely concerned for Arthur’s mental health too. So why is everyone so worried about the state of Arthur’s brains?
Without hopefully spoiling too much of it, the scene is adorkable, Arthur suffers from a form of hero PTSD, has visions and night terrors and hears voices and all that jazz, and this was the standard before Tick showed up. So we take all this funnery into account, and then a very large blue bullet-proof hero-inciting nutjob appears to turn Arthur’s life on its head!
Tick (Peter Serafinowitz) really is the genuine hero every single last one of us needs right now. Eternally optimistic and forever your own personal cheering squad, Tick is like the life coach from My Little Pony-land crossed with a very cartoony ‘Deadpool’ version of Colossus from the X-Men that you never knew you wanted, til now. He surges forward, upright and determined to do the bidding of Lady Destiny and Madam Justice, always with grand heroic quips and unfailing politeness! Be the hero you were meant to be, Arthur! How cool would it be to have Tick come through your window some night and drop you a badass hero-suit to wear to fight bad guys?
But Arthur, like many of us watching him, still has his heroic issues and wants no part of the moth suit. In fact, Arthur thinks, when Tick first shows up larger than life in Arthur’s neurotic life, that his mental issues have busted out and just finally run rampant roughshod over everything. It’s only when, after poor Arthur’s been forcibly suited up in that spiffy moth suit and bad guys and persons-of-interest begin showing up to storm Arthur’s castle, that he simply can’t deny once again being tossed into the heroic world – whether he likes it or not.
The cast of characters surrounding Arthur and our beloved Blue Guy is fun and tongue-in-cheek eye-rolling humor, especially the supervillains. The Terror himself, as he troops in to talk with his henchmen and divests himself of his villainous accouterments, because y’know that stuff’s for the tourists, is a cartoon-y bad guy we enjoy, bringing Haley’s own snarkiness out in a very enjoyable way. Ms. Lint (Yara Martinez), whom I personally love just because of how she got her nickname and her utter Don’t-give-a-Fuck style with those fake eyes, reminds me more of an anime villain than a regular cartoon bad gal, but in either case she is a joy to watch. Superian (Brendan Hines) is the last surviving hero of Arthur’s world, if you can really call him that, since he’s far too reminiscent of a powerless Captain Obvious and more often than not acts as if he’d rather be anywhere but here saving a bunch of normal schmoes. Overkill (Scott Speiser) is technically a good guy, and his play-off against Tick and Arthur is adorkable, like a retired Deathstroke who gets forcibly called back in to work with baby heroes.
Yes yes yes, we will address the elephant in the room, which is to say that Tick has had several incarnations at this point: a long-running comic series, a Fox cartoon show, and two live-action shows as well. I’ve seen most of those things and enjoyed them to various degrees, but this new Tick is that funny beloved and sometimes bumbling hero to the nth degree we all could use right now. Comparing him, and Serafinowitz, to anyone else who’s been the Tick, does the character and the show a deep disservice. This new take on the Tick is excellent and outstanding and it’s a damned shame there’s only 6 episodes in this first season and they’re only half an hour long. We neeeeeed more Tick and we need it now!
Give Lady Justice a hand and catch The Tick on Amazon Prime now!