One of the nicer things about the DCAU Justice League series was the use of guest stars to greatly expand the animated universe to include all manner of DC heroes and villains.
It looks like Jimmy and Tom hit the guest star jackpot this time around with the episodes for “A Knight of Shadows,” “Metamorphosis,” and “The Savage Time”.
“A Knight of Shadows”
Morgan le Fey is after the Philosopher’s Stone! Can the League and Etrigan the Demon stop her?
jimmy: So let’s address the first elephant in the room…why are these your least favorite episodes?
tomk: This story raises too many questions.
We’re told the Philosopher’s Stone was inside the hilt of Arthur’s sword Excalibur. But when they find it, it is the size and shape of a brick.
tomk: When the League gets the Stone back to the Watchtower, Etrigan hangs around with them for…reasons. There’s no reason for him to stay unless everyone knows the Watchtower’s security will fail.
Morgan wants to give her son power because…?
J’onn destroys the Stone at the end. Did no one think of that before?
And then Morgan says the battle is over but not the war…how can she keep fighting if the one thing she wanted no longer exists.
What happened to Morgan’s victims?
What happened to the people of London when Morgan made everything Medieval?
jimmy: Well, we know Hef returned to normal.
tomk: After he turned into a one-eyed purple snake monster.
jimmy: Are you implying something?
tomk: The Hef guy, voiced by SCTV vet Dave Thomas, was the episode highlight. I actually like those scenes that, well, seem like they came from a completely different show.
But what did you think, Jimmy?
jimmy: I didn’t love them, but they were ok. I get your problems with the plot, but those seem like things you would tell me not to think too much about. 🙂
I’m more concerned with J’onn getting knocked unconscious like every episode.
tomk: Yeah, I didn’t care for Etrigan talking smack about J’onn all episode.
At least every other member of the League either stood up for J’onn or told Etrigan off.
jimmy: And I know it’s hard to write, but where was the rhyming? And except for when he rescued J’onn from the first illusion of his family, Etrigan’s yellow seemed off.
tomk: I don’t think there was any rhyming. It’s like when the more pleasant Etrigan did Batman’s show and only rhymed once.
jimmy: That’s what I mean.
It’s like Zatanna appearing and not casting spells backwards.
tomk: To be fair, the only Zatanna we’ve seen so far was just a regular stage magician.
jimmy: You know what I mean.
tomk: Oh. Yes.
But hey, we got an origin for Etrigan.
Granted, I’ve seen like two or three different origins for Etrigan, so that one may have been Kirby’s original.
jimmy: I wouldn’t know.
tomk: In this case, neither would I.
jimmy: I don’t know much about Etrigan outside of the rhyming and, in this case, being a bit of a jerk.
tomk: He is a demon. His general jerkiness often depends on the story. Sometimes he’s a nasty antihero.
Sometimes he’s something of a villain.
jimmy: Is there any explanation for why Morgan’s face was covered? Was she still regenerating?
tomk: That’s something else. We never see her face. She’s got a clear Kirby design, but that’s about all I can say.
Even a hint of her face…or maybe some emotion…might have made her a better villain.
Then again, she may be a Dr. Doom type who always wears a mask. And what kind of weirdo wears a mask wherever they go these days?
jimmy: Only the most vile degenerates.
tomk: The kind that just want to put Joffrey on the throne?
jimmy: Lol, I was just going to make the same Joffrey joke.
tomk: Yeah, this episode may have aged weirdly.
jimmy: Well, it did come out after 3 of the Game of Thrones books, so maybe there was some influence there. I’ve also seen Morgaine Le Fay in plenty of media, but this is the first with her son that I recall.
tomk: Mordred is, like Morgan, part of Arthurian legend.
Usually he isn’t a kid, though.
In fact, I did a little research. While Morgan appeared in Etrigan’s very first comic, I can’t find Mordred’s, but he is never depicted as an eternal child as near as I can make out.
jimmy: I’m not all that familiar with the legends besides Merlin showing up in pretty much anything needing a wizard, and Le Fey often showing up as a villain.
tomk: Mordred is almost always her son. Sometimes he’s also Arthur’s who is Morgan’s half-brother.
In DC lore, Merlin is Etrigan’s half-brother in most stories.
Mordred is generally the guy who brings Camelot down but often dies in the process.
jimmy: At a purple wedding?
tomk: Usually he and Arthur die fighting each other.
jimmy: Was that Camelot in the beginning?
tomk: Of the episode? Yes.
For the show, it looks like Mordred is always an obnoxious punk kid, so instead Jason Blood just betrayed Camelot and Merlin cursed him for it.
jimmy: Looks like he betrayed Camelot for some action. If you know what I’m saying?
tomk: Yes, Watson.
But you know what they say about dating evil women.
jimmy: You never go back?
tomk: You might not be able to.
jimmy: They should learn to take the advice of one Mr. O. Osbourne: “Evil woman, don’t you play your games with me”.
tomk: Or, don’t stick it in evil.
jimmy: Some guys just can’t help themselves.
And next thing you know you’re an immortal yellow demon.
tomk: There are better ways to meet people than going for someone evil with a Joffrey in tow. Like shared need for farm equipment:
jimmy: So…that’s something…at least there isn’t a talking cat.
tomk: You brought up the talking cat this time.
Etrigan has other kid enemies with cats.
jimmy: Cats. The favorite pet of would be world conquerors everywhere.
tomk: Are you implying something?
jimmy: …uh…just joking.
tomk: Of course.
jimmy: Though you’d be better than your current Emperor.
tomk: What’s wrong with Bryan Cranston?
jimmy: Oh, no. He’s OK.
tomk: Our emperor likes to keep a relatively low profile.
jimmy: Speaking of low profiles, Olivia D’Abo seems to do a lot of voice work.
tomk: That’s nothing. The new Etrigan played Tarzan to her Jane for Disney.
Guess Billy Zane was busy.
tomk: Wonder Years residuals don’t pay all the bills. And I don’t know why Zane didn’t come back.
jimmy: Maybe he was afraid he would be asked to do the Bat-Tusi.
tomk: That’s reserved for party guests at the grotto.
Which may or may not have the bunnies researching alternative energy sources.
jimmy: Heh. Did you think that one of the party guests looked like Galactus?
tomk: Many of the guests were designed to look like various Jack Kirby creations, particularly lesser known New Gods.
jimmy: Maybe he just had a similar look to one of them.
tomk: Probably. I’m sure a quick Internet search will tell you who everyone was, including the guy dressed up as Goody Rickles.
jimmy: I found this list. No mention of Galactus:
Batman (closely resembling an actor of 50 years later)
Catwoman (similarly from the musical)
An old-style Aquaman
Vykin the Black
Goody Rickles (a parody of Don Rickles)
OMAC faceless agents
Devilance the Pursuer
Phantom of the Sewers (an old Etrigan villain)
Though IMDB says this: “During Harv Hickman’s party, one of the guests is wearing a hat/helmet clearly modeled after that of DC Comics’ rival Marvel Comics’ space-fairing character Galactus. However, the colors have been changed (this helmet is primarily black, whereas Galactus’ is purple).”
tomk: Then perhaps he was.
Then again, this is New God Devilance the Pursuer:
jimmy: Ah…it could definitely be him.
He did have shorts on, etc.
tomk: Kirby did use similar designs on a lot of his creations.
jimmy: The Bat and Cat being from the Batman Musical was funny.
tomk: Apparently the party guests can see future hit musicals. I’m sure one was dressed as Alexander Hamilton.
jimmy: Was probably Ryan.
tomk: He was probably still all Book of Mormon back then.
jimmy: I’m not sure what that means but ok!
tomk: So, we had Etrigan and J’onn really let loose on him, showing what he can do when he really wants to.
jimmy: Poor J’onn. Never seems to catch a break. It almost seems like the “Superman problem”, where J’onn is too powerful and they need to restrain his powers somehow each episode.
tomk: You know, until he has to slap a demon around.
jimmy: That brings out the best in our favorite Martian.
tomk: What about Marvin?
jimmy: Hmm…good point.
tomk: I could also suggest J’onn’s wife was voiced by Pam Grier.
jimmy: And you’d be right!
tomk: For what it is worth, I do like seeing J’onn cut loose at the end, and Morgan’s second appearance is a much stronger episode. Did you have anything you wished to add, Jimmy?
jimmy: I just wish they could go a (pair) of episodes without debilitating J’onn.
tomk: We might have a good one for that in season two.
jimmy: Then I guess we better move ahead with season one then.
tomk: Well, how about a hero weirder than Etrigan?
jimmy: Do they talk in rhyme?
jimmy: Man. No one talks in rhyme anymore.
tomk: You should try it some time.
jimmy: To not, would be a crime.
tomk: Don’t kick that can.
You’re a Canadian man.
Born free and proud,
You can shout it out loud.
Rhyming ain’t no thang.
It shows your spirit rang.
But we move on from Etrigan
To Metamorpho, the element man.
John Stewart’s friend Rex Mason seems to have it all—until an accident transforms him into Metamorpho!
jimmy: Here’s a common refrain: I’m not that familiar with Metamorpho, how does this link up with his comic book origins?
tomk: Not that much. He got his powers from a meteor under an Egyptian pyramid originally. There was even a staff weapon called the Orb of Ra that acted as his own personal kryptonite.
That said, Sapphire, Simon Stagg, and Java were mostly right.
Oh, and Metamorpho and Simon Stagg both seem to be drawn to look like their original Silver Age appearances as depicted by artist Ramona Fradon.
jimmy: So you’re saying I knew even less about Metamorpho than I originally thought?
tomk: Sure looks that way!
Fun fact: Metamorpho is the only hero to (politely) decline Justice League membership in the Silver Age.
jimmy: Who declined impolitely?
tomk: Rex did.
Oh, misread that. Let’s say Adam Strange.
jimmy: He probably saw J’onn get knocked unconscious…again…and thought, “maybe the Justice League life is not for me?”
tomk: That always happens. Sapphire’s Peg Bundy hairdo is another story.
jimmy: I’m not familiar with her at all, but they should did everything they could to vamp her up.
tomk: She’s Rex’s often airheaded girlfriend and Stagg’s daughter.
jimmy: I got that from the show. I don’t remember ever seeing her in a comic. But, I haven’t read much involving Metamorpho as is obvious. To be honest, I mostly know him from this:
tomk: Outside of the origin and it’s usually Java that Rex fights for Saph’s affection, there isn’t much else to add.
jimmy: We can add this:
tomk: You now know the basics.
Is that song payback for the talking cat?
jimmy: No. The talking cat is much, much worse.
tomk: True, and you aren’t the revenge type.
Besides, Rex has it rough no matter where he is.
jimmy: “I’m having the jumping heebies!” I gotta start using that more.
tomk: I got a black and white collection of the entire Silver Age Metamorpho run. It’s full of that sort of dialogue that makes the stories extra fun.
jimmy: Is there any explanation for his perfectly proportioned coloring?
tomk: Um, it’s magic and you don’t have to explain it?
jimmy: Like when I put dirty clothes in the hamper and a couple of days later they show up clean in my closet. That type of magic?
tomk: I…would recommend not asking the Ms or the Moose about that magic.
jimmy: …you may be right.
tomk: Then again, your life may still turn out better than a guest voice here.
jimmy: Winnie Cooper didn’t turn out so bad.
tomk: She voices Miss Martian on Young Justice these days.
I meant Tom Sizemore.
jimmy: Yeah…that didn’t end so well.
tomk: Let’s just say there’s probably a really good reason Rex never has another speaking part on the show.
jimmy: But does appear again? This sure set him up as a potential ally moving forward.
tomk: Oh, he makes a few silent cameos here and there.
jimmy: Metamorpho, Metamorpho
tomk: Well, you have him here. He can even make kryptonite.
jimmy: How does he even know how to do that? Probably one of those things best not to think about.
tomk: He just does apparently.
It’s not like with Firestorm and a chemistry professor has to teach him everything.
jimmy: Yeah. I mean, how does he know how to do any of the things he does?
tomk: Dumb luck?
A good deal of it seems instinctive.
jimmy: Yes. There’s really not much other explanation.
tomk: The first few transformations look like he just reacted. Possibly because he had the jumping heebies.
tomk: It’s a serious condition.
jimmy: Almost as serious as Joker’s boner.
tomk: But is it as serious as turning into such a freak, your girlfriend loses consciousness just looking at you?
jimmy: She stuck with him though.
tomk: She’s a good woman who greets her fiancé’s friends in just a towel and has a Peg Bundy hairdo.
jimmy: Probably easier to draw than style in real life.
tomk: I think they were going for a 60s style cool vibe for Rex and Saph.
jimmy: I’m not sure what kind of vibe they were going for with Stagg and Java. Tweeter and the Monkey Man?
tomk: 60s Stagg was something of an unreliable ally. Java was just a big dummy who fought Rex for Saph’s affections quite literally despite her lack of interest. More modern updates made Stagg more of a Lex Luthor businessman villain.
Jeff Lemire did something interesting with Java on the current DC series The Terrifics, but that would be spoiler territory.
And that’s not getting into Element Girl, a woman spy who made herself into a Metamorpho on purpose to act as a love triangle. DC forgot she existed until Neil Gaiman did something fantastic with her during his Sandman run.
jimmy: I guess I should check out this Sandman…
tomk: Yes. You should.
jimmy: I wonder if there was any particular reasoning to changing his origin? Just to somewhat modernize it maybe?
tomk: Probably to simplify it. That or a guy raiding an Egyptian pyramid these days might look a little questionable.
jimmy: Because of Geraldo, right?
tomk: Well, that or it may look a wee bit imperialistic when a white guy raids another culture’s stuff for his own use.
jimmy: If this was BTAS, I might say they were trying to make it more realistic or believable, but that’s not really on the agenda for this show.
tomk: They’d also be raiding the tomb while wearing jodphurs.
tomk: Instead, we get an industrial “accident” that leads to a second one involving a billionaire becoming…Chemo!
jimmy: Is that a new character?
tomk: Old DC villain. Usually fights the Metal Men.
jimmy: Ah. I know even less about the Metal Men. I don’t even know if they have a catchy theme song.
The Metal Men…never appear on Justice League, but they were a team of robots that were each made of a different metal with a personality to match. They were Gold (the leader), Iron (the muscle), Lead (the shield), Platinum/Tina (the lovesick female), Mercury (the hot-tempered), and Tin (the one with low self-esteem).
They were built by Dr. Will Magnus, DC’s resident robotics genius.
Now, go write a catchy song about them.
jimmy: I’ll get back to you on that…
Anything else to add on Mr. Mason and company?
jimmy: Right. I did notice Moll’s name in the credits. I wouldn’t have recognized Boen’s name, but definitely his face.
tomk: Well, we got two potential allies for these last two stories. But the season did end, and if you’re going to end big, how about the Justice League do some time traveling and punch some Nazis?
jimmy: Is this one of the allies?
tomk: Lamentably no.
jimmy: Then who could it be I wonder?
tomk: There may be a few. Shall we go see?
jimmy: I’ve got the keys to the Delorean right here.
tomk: You may not need them.
“The Savage Time”
History changed for the entire world except the Justice League, and the Nazis won World War II! Can the League fix the time stream?
jimmy: Superman hugging Batman…now THAT’S how you do a season finale!
tomk: You mean not with War Wheels, dead Nazis, and Nick Fury?
jimmy: I mean, those things are great too but…wait…Nick Fury?!?
tomk: Yeah. There’s a soldier who gets an eye injury that’s supposed to be Nick Fury.
jimmy: In Easy Co.?
tomk: I think Flash pulled him away from a War Wheel.
jimmy: Hmm. I remember that, but don’t remember any haystacks.
tomk: This was the pre-Sam Jackson Nick Fury.
He isn’t as good at hiding.
jimmy: Yeah, hiding under a War Wheel is not a good idea…unless you are Wonder Woman.
tomk: By the by, those things traditionally fought the Blackhawks,
jimmy: Was cool to see them and the Blackhawks and Sgt Rock.
tomk: And that other guy.
jimmy: It did make me wonder how big those bombers were at the end. They could easily fit multiple War Wheels.
tomk: Well, just remember that jet bomber plot was used here first and not in a certain Captain America movie.
jimmy: Nazi jet bomber plot. Nick Fury cameo. Time travel. Old Man Steve. This really was Captain America!
tomk: Our heroes need to stop a fascist attack on America in the last act…
jimmy: We might have discussed this before, but I assume there is some reason that no actual swastikis were displayed even though they were clearly Nazi’s fighting in WWII, called Savage Mein Füher and had Hitler frozen in a tube?
tomk: The double lightning bolts looked similar.
Plus, they never refer to Hitler by name.
jimmy: Similar yes, but different.
No, they do not. But it’s quite obvious who it is.
tomk: Well, yes. But they could still pretend this is a kids show that way. Adults recognize all that stuff. Kids, not so much.
jimmy: Fair enough. Maybe Little Johnny’s dad walking by the TV wouldn’t pay much mind unless he saw an actual swastika or heard Hitler by name.
tomk: And it’s not like the MCU used Nazis instead of Hydra.
jimmy: There’s probably some weird rule with the censors about what they can use.
tomk: It could be as simple as they didn’t want to trivialize actual real world evil by showing actual Nazi symbolism.
jimmy: And I’m sure we don’t know or want to know the half of it.
This is depressing. Shall we talk Steve Trevor?
jimmy: He might as well have been Steve Rogers.
tomk: Well, Steve Rogers never would have just grabbed and kissed, let’s say, Carol Danvers.
jimmy: At least he called her “Angel” and not “Dollface” or “Toots”.
tomk: “Angel” is probably from the comics.
See, when Steve was a slave kid on Tattooine, a teenage Diana walked in one day, so Steve asked if she was an angel.
Speaking of the kiss, of course the first thing I thought when that happened was “oh, Jenny’s not gonna be happy about that”.
tomk: Jenny’s not here, man.
jimmy: Maybe she’ll watch this after Batman The Animated Series.
tomk: So, sometime in 2035.
jimmy: Hey. We all have our lists.
tomk: Yes, but some people seem more interested in completing theirs than others.
jimmy: Steve was impressive. Even to Diana who remarked about him doing what he was doing without any special powers
tomk: Much more than impressive than Silver Age Steve, who went everywhere with Diana, even driving the Jeep they usually took, but never actually did anything useful.
Plus, it is Patrick Duffy’s voice, so he may have spent time as Scuzzlebutt’s leg.
jimmy: I don’t know what that means. But yes, Dr McDreamy. Don’t ask how I know that.
tomk: It’s a South Park reference. And I thought Patrick Dempsey was McDreamy.
I have even less idea how I know that.
jimmy: Haha, yes, I mixed them up.
tomk: Did you get anyone else mixed up? Say Robert Picardo as Blackhawk or Buffalo Bill as Bulldozer?
tomk: Good. How about Phil Morris as Vandal Savage?
jimmy: That would be outrageous, egregious, preposterous.
tomk: Oh good. I was thinking I would have to pull a clip.
He has also played J’onn on Smallville and Cyborg’s father on Doom Patrol.
jimmy: Those I haven’t seen.
tomk: One might not be worth the trouble.
jimmy: Don’t tell Halbrook.
tomk: Near as I can make out, his interest is in an actress who did not play a Martian.
jimmy: Probably a good thing, because they always end up unconscious.
tomk: He got knocked out by a guy with a power glove this time.
tomk: You sure are critical of Martians. John Stewart didn’t do much better at times.
jimmy: I just don’t understand why he gets knocked unconscious every show.
And speaking of John, it seems pretty silly that a ring controlled completely by will power would need to be charged. But it is what it is.
tomk: Be glad this one isn’t useless against a primary color.
The ring charges off its battery. Willpower only controls what that energy does.
jimmy: I suppose. You’d think that willpower could charge it.
tomk: It does in the Earth One trades, but not very well without a battery.
jimmy: It did allow John to show Easy Co. that he was more than a pretty face.
tomk: Yeah, all the great Easy Company characters like Rock, Wild Man, Bulldozer, and Ice Cream Soldier.
jimmy: Stop him when he’s passing by.
tomk: They called him that because he always kept his cool no matter how crazy things went.
jimmy: Then I can guess how Wild Man got his name…
tomk: He just does crazy stuff in a berzerker rage.
jimmy: Is he the best he is at what he does?
tomk: Growing a bushy red beard? Yeah!
jimmy: That is hard to do.
tomk: They left a few Easy Company regulars out of the episode. Guys with names like Little Sure Shot (Native American sharp shooter), Jackie Johnson (African American heavyweight boxer), and Flower (the pacifist).
jimmy: Here’s a shock…I don’t know much about Easy Company outside of their existence and of course Sgt Rock.
tomk: There actually isn’t a lot to know. Sergeant Rock stories were usually part of anthology books where he and whatever Easy Company soldiers, many of them one-offs, would deal with some mission while wandering around Europe or Northern Africa. Usually it meant Rock figuring out how to get a new guy to fit in and be a real soldier.
Kinda like what he does with Bulldozer and John Stewart here.
jimmy: Makes sense.
tomk: And then there were these massive, apparently lethal fistfights between Easy and Nazi patrols.
jimmy: Well, that would be par for the course for the era.
tomk: How about kid sidekicks for Rock? Because that was an actual thing I was shocked to discover.
jimmy: Everyone knows kids make the best Nazi killers.
tomk: Maybe in Canada.
jimmy: But, yeah, no surprise Justice League didn’t incorporate Unit 3 into this one.
tomk: Most people haven’t.
But how about that Vandal Savage? They only hint he’s immortal here.
jimmy: Was it really just a hint? Seemed pretty obvious since he hadn’t aged at all from WWII to present day.
tomk: Well, they don’t say more than that.
We know he’s a bad man who made Batman even less social than usual.
jimmy: His “Who’s got two thumbs and is immortal? This guy!” shirt kinda gave it away.
tomk: And a power glove.
jimmy: Nintendo got some ‘splaining to do.
tomk: That’s for the Pacific Theater.
jimmy: Speaking of Bats, how awkward was it when he was like “I don’t care if you change time and I get erased. At least my parents will still be alive.”
Supes: “Errr…”, hooks a finger into his collar and pulls nervously.
tomk: Yeah, the only timeline where Bruce’s parents live is Flashpoint. And that was…bad for Bruce for other reasons.
jimmy: And his parents.
tomk: I hope you spotted Tim, Barbara, and Dick in the underground. That’s the only appearance for two of them in the entire run of Justice League. Dick appears as a shadow in a future episode.
jimmy: I did!
tomk: But we could have had Batman punching Nazis in the 40s!
jimmy: Yeah. Too bad he stayed behind. I feel like Conroy was only getting paid for a few lines a show here and there.
tomk: He has more to do in some episodes than others. Not like the Flash who has no lines in the entire first season of Justice League Unlimited.
tomk: I suspect Michael Rosenbaum was busy.
jimmy: Would it matter?
tomk: Only if you want to recast a key character with a recognizable voice.
jimmy: Is he really that recognizable? They changed Superman and no one rioted in the streets.
tomk: Maybe not in your neighborhood.
Smallville with Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor was probably still a thing then.
jimmy: I never watched. Still, I don’t know that that would be the reason for a Flash freeze out. But anyway, he saves Nick Fury here, so we should cut him a break.
tomk: And he has credibility with the navy.
jimmy: You would too if you ran across the Atlantic Ocean.
tomk: Or just the English Channel.
And they got the Blackhawks back for the end too. We all know how much Hawks hate Nazis.
jimmy: We might be crossing several streams there, but lol.
tomk: Everybody wants to punch a Nazi.
jimmy: There’s no downside.
tomk: Well, the League put everything back to normal and J’onn managed to rescue himself. Anything else to add, Jimmy?
jimmy: We don’t want to get into time travel paradoxes right?
tomk: Willpower can apparently overcome changes to the time stream.
jimmy: Man, what can’t willpower do? Besides charge a Lantern ring…
tomk: You can’t get past that, can you?
jimmy: I’m just sayin’…
tomk: We should probably be glad they didn’t bring in the other Lantern Corps for this show.
jimmy: Didn’t they, Tom? Didn’t they?
tomk: Just Sinestro by himself so far.
jimmy: He’s someone else everyone wants to punch.
tomk: We saw him on Superman’s show. And that ended darkly. Maybe Superman has some thoughts on that ending and who was responsible.
jimmy: Is that a segue?
tomk: It could be.
jimmy: Then make it so!
NEXT: Tom and Jimmy will be back soon with the first few episodes of Justice League‘s second season. Be back soon with the episodes for “Twlight,” “Tabula Rasa,” and “Only a Dream”.