Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Vixen

Go To

Vixen is a 2015 animated online series airing on the CW Seed, and a spinoff of the Arrowverse. It focuses on the eponymous comic book character (Megalyn Echikunwoke), whose real name is Mari McCabe, as she seeks knowledge about her birth parents and her magical heritage - running afoul of the law as well as the Arrow and the Flash.

The series consists of six five-minute episodes, which began airing on August 25th, 2015. The series was renewed for a second season in January 2016 and Megalyn reprised the character in live-action for Arrow's fourth season in the episode "Taken".

The first season takes place sometime around the 2014-2015 Arrowverse season. Mari comes back to her hometown of Detroit. During an attempted mugging her totem necklace begins to manifest its powers, which draws the attention of Barry and Oliver, who merely want to help Mari understand her powers, and an unsavory woman who hold the answers that Mari's been looking for her about her heritage.

The second season takes a place a year later during the 2015-2016 season, before the formation of the Legends. A mysterious African ambassador with connections to Mari's birth family begins causing havoc in Detroit and she teams up with the Atom and Black Canary to stop him before he destroys the city.

The first two seasons were edited together with 15 minutes of new footage and was released on DVD on May 23rd, 2017 under the title of Vixen: The Movie.

Two years after it premiered online, Vixen had its terrestrial broadcast debut on August 30th, 2017 airing as the omnibus movie version.

Vixen contains examples of:

  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite the events in Central City well being public knowledge by now, Chuck has trouble believing Mari's powers even after seeing them first-hand.
  • Arc Number: When asked about who her family is, Mari calls it the "Fifty-two million dollar question", fifty-two being the Arc Number for the Arrowverse as a whole.
  • Arrow Catch: Mari catches an arrow shot by Oliver.
  • Artistic License – Religion: The series explains Mari's powers as being bestowed by the Akan trickster god Anansi through manipulating the Yoruba concept of Ase, mashing together concepts from two very distinct religions and parts of Africa. May overlap with The Theme Park Version. Possibly justified by the fact that Constantine is also a part of this universe and they might be using a similar approach to religion.
  • Ax-Crazy: Eshu, especially once he gets the Fire Totem.
  • Bait the Dog: Kuasa tells Mari about her past and answers all her questions right before poisoning her with a spider.
  • Big Bad:
    • In Season 1, it's Mari's own sister Kuasa who feels the totem rightfully belongs to her.
    • In Season 2, it's Eshu, the man who destroyed both sisters' village and murdered their father, who wants to collect all magical totems for himself.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity:
    • Despite having several opportunities, Kuasa leaves Mari alive, at one point patching her wounds and taking her from Detroit to Africa. Then, even after getting the totem, Kuasa still doesn't kill her.
    • She appears to train her mooks in this, as well. They have their guns aimed at Mari and Kuasa has stated she'll have them kill her if she doesn't hand over the necklace. When Mari can't, Kuasa says she'll take it from her corpse, so the goons immediately... rush toward her instead of shooting her.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Even after Mari separates him from the totem, Eshu still put's up a formidable fight against her. Under water, no less.
  • Cain and Abel: Kuasa is Mari's sister and won't hesitate to kill her to get the totem.
  • Catchphrase: While running from Barry and Oliver, she interrupts Oliver to deliver his frequent accusation ("You have failed this city.") in an "yeah, yeah" tone. Obviously, she knows enough about the costumed hero to deliver that line.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The necklace. While Mari has no trouble getting it on and off normally, when she tries to hand it to Kuasa, it refuses to come off.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Cisco gives Mari the codename Vixen, completely unaware that it was the same codename used by Mari's grandmother Amaya while a member of the Justice Society of America, as seen on Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Declaration of Protection: Mari vows to protect Detroit after reclaiming the totem.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Clearly, neither Barry nor Oliver considered that Mari might not be happy to see two costumed superheroes show up at her doorstep. Let's You and Him Fight ensues as a result.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mari starts the series in jail because she stabbed the guy interviewing her in the hand for suggesting she sleep with him to get the job.
  • Doomed Hometown: Zambesi village is Kuasa and Mari's.
  • Enemy Mine: Mari teams up with her sister in Season 2 to stop Eshu, the man who destroyed their village and murdered their father.
  • Entitled Bastard: Even though the spirit totem stayed in the bloodline by going to Mari, Kuasa cannot be deterred from believing that it is her right to wield it and her's alone.
  • Flight: Mari can fly by invoking the essence of a bird.
  • Guest Star: Four guest stars, actually. Two from Arrow (Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Arrow + Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity) and two from The Flash (Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/Flash + Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon). In Season 2, Ray Palmer, Jax Jackson (from Legends of Tomorrow) as well as Laurel Lance join the cast. There is also a small silent appearance from Weather Wizard.
  • Happily Adopted: Mari, while she is very curious about her birth parents, has a very good relationship with her adoptive father and her relationship with her adoptive mother was even better. When she sees a vision of her ancestors, her adoptive mother is among them.
  • How Unscientific!: The series introduces magic into the Arrowverse, which until this point had been in science fiction territory (albeit getting steadily softer on that front ever since the Flash showed up and the Lazarus Pits were on Arrow). Though if you want to get technical, Constantine also had magic, but that show was made part of the Verse retroactively.
  • How We Got Here: The opening sequence has Vixen being chased by the Arrow and the Flash, before going back three days.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • The Flash keeps failing to grab Vixen because she jumps at the last second or dodges in some other fashion. Because the series wants to have a dramatic fall for its How We Got Here bit, he fails to utilize his vastly superior reflexes and speed to catch her. There is some indication he's holding back and is at times surprised by her powers, but the chase runs long enough that his failure to catch her is all the more noticeable for it.
    • Barry and Oliver show up to Mari's house in full costume and with Oliver heavily armed. This, obviously, freaks Mari out and leads to the Let's You and Him Fight sequence.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Chuck's reaction to Mari picking up a table one-handed: "I really need to start drinking."
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Vixen is modeled after her voice actress, to better facilitate future live-action appearances by the character. She will be making her live-action debut on Arrow.
  • In-Series Nickname: The trailer shows Cisco gives Mari the name Vixen, like almost all comic book aliases in The Flash.
  • Killed Off for Real: Kuasa get's killed by Eshu in the fifth episode of Season 2. And Eshu himself bite's the dust in the Season 2 finale.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Mari immediately heads for the hills when the Arrow and Flash show up at her door, since she assumes they're trying to arrest her, making things rather more violent than they needed to be.
  • Missing Mom: Mari was given up for adoption and knows nothing about her birth mother (and father), and in the present day, her adoptive mother has since died.
  • Monochrome Past: Kuasa's narration of her backstory uses muted colors.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Invoked by Mari when she goes to a university professor to have her necklace examined, since he starts scrutinizing it while she's still wearing it.
  • No Name Given: Mari never does actual learn her sister Kuasa's name. In fact, seemingly so, Kuasa is only ever named in the credits.
  • Origin Story: The miniseries serves as one for Vixen.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Mari's magic totem necklace was a keepsake from her mysterious birth mother.
  • Out of Order: The series is set some time in the third quarter of Arrow Season 3/The Flash Season 1, to explain why the two of them would be working together on this.
  • Playing with Fire: Eshu, after getting his hands on the Fire Totem.
  • Reused Character Design: The series has the same designers and animation style as Young Justice (2010), and some assets from that show seem to have been recycled. Dr. Hugo Strange stars as Mr. Jones the cat burglar, the smuggler trying to shake down Dr. Vargas could be Dick Grayson's evil uncle, and Cassie Sandsmark is a bystander in the crowd watching Eshu adress Detroit on live television.
  • Scary Black Man: Benatu Eshu.
  • Scissors Cuts Rock: Eshu's fire powers are so great that he literally reduces Kuasa into nothingness, despite her having the water totem.
  • Secondary Adaptation: Originally a DC Comics character created circa 1978, the character of Mari Jiwe McCabe is now a part of the Arrowverse continuity, a primarily live-action television medium, where her grandmother appears in Legends of Tomorrow. This self-titled Spin-Off show is an animated online series that first aired on CW Seed in 2015.
  • Shout-Out: The five totems are the same (Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Spirit (Heart)) as those in Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
  • The Stinger: The movie version's after credits scene is an animated recreation of Vixen's introduction from "Taken", ending with Green Arrow asking for her help.
  • The Theme Park Version: As noted in Artistic License – Religion, Mari and the totem's African origins are all over the place. She is from a village named "Zambezi" - named after a river in Zambia - but which is a "M'changa" province and appearance wise appears to be in Kenya. However, they pray to a West African god, who grants them power associated with a second West African belief system. Her sister wears what appears to be a Kufi, which are used in West Africa but are actually Islam-related. By and large it appears to be a mashup of stereotypically "African" aspects from all over the continent. The second season clarifies that — as in the comics — Zambezi village is in a fictional country also called Zambezi.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: When Mari and her adoptive dad encounter some muggers, one says "Give up the necklace, bitch!"
  • Time Skip: The movie version shows there's a one year gap between Season One and Season Two; since that's how long Professor Macalaster's expedition in Africa was. Mari spent the time honing her skills and making herself a better costume.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Kuasa is the one who tells Mari her backstory. It's mostly accurate, but she was lying about being The Chosen One.
  • You're Not My Father: Averted, Mari has a decent relationship with her adopted parents, but she still wants to know more about her birth parents.