Superknockedup: problems of a supervillain

Darkstar Superknockedup: problems of a  supervillainSuperknockedup is a web series written, produced, and directed by Jeff Burns of Troy, New York.  It can be viewed on the website 5 to 7 minute installments are put up every few weeks.   There is also a web comic  written by Burns and featuring art by Donny Gandakasuma.

The series has a unique premise, one that I  think we can all relate to in some way.  Darkstar, aka Jessica James (played by Natalie Bain) is an independent young woman who is at the top of her game as a supervillain.  She`s working with fellow villain Dr. Destruction (David Bunce) on a plot to destroy the city`s superheroes.  Her life changes abruptly when she must cope with an unexpected pregnancy after a one-night stand with self-absorbed superhero Captain Amazing (Mark Pezzula).

The first episode opens with a shot of Darkstar waking up in a strange bedroom.  She soon finds a trail of clothing and Captain Amazing snoring beside her.  Since this is the supervillain equivalent of a liberal  lobbyist hooking up with Rush Limbaugh, Darkstar is suitably appalled. She must then face his overly hip mom, who insists on cooking breakfast for them (“if you`re boinking my son, you may as well eat my cooking”).

Superknockedup retains this delightfully dry sense of humor throughout each episode.  Dr. Destruction summons Darkstar on an “Ivillain” phone; his receptionist wears  a “Dr. D Groupie” T-shirt. Often, it has the feel of an R-rated Sky High: both use superhero tropes in a realistic setting.  The witty writing draws one in, yet you also care about the characters, especially  Jessica/Darkstar.

Bain plays her as a typical American working woman who (in her words) “just happens to be a supervillain.”  When asked if  she was influenced by any specific female villains or heroines, she replied, ” I would love to say that I took  bits and pieces from a few different kick-ass ladies but the role… was unlike a lot of female characters that came before.  She has a hard exterior, but we really wanted to portray her as a real woman with real issues.”

Bain brings a touching sensitivity to her  portrayal of Darkstar, making her easy to relate to despite her dedicated pursuit of evil. Mark Pezzula is also good as Captain Amazing,  playing him as an egotistical mash-up of Superman and Captain Kirk.

This series is funny and very original. Since it`s hard to find much on network TV concerning superhero subjects, it is gratifying to watch Superknockedup online.  I have not yet explored the web comic, but it looks intriguing on the site.  This is definitely an unexpected treat in the often bewildering quantity of web dramas.



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