Going Through The DCAU Part Seventy-Four

Season Two of Justice League did some course correction on a few things, such as how easily Superman seemed to go down every episode.  Or, as Jimmy has noted many times, how often the Martian Manhunter seemed to get knocked unconscious.

But Jimmy and Tom are still here, and this time, we’re talking the episodes “Twlight,” “Tabula Rosa,” and “Only a Dream”.

“Twilight”

The Justice League gets a request for help—from Darkseid!

jimmy:  So…did Lightray slap Wonder Women on the ass?

tomk:  You mean we got the return and possible ends to both Brainiac and Darkseid, Superman’s rage over how he was used, and hints of Hawkgirl’s backstory, and all you care about is whether or not Lightray got to keep that hand?

jimmy:  It’s not all I care about…

tomk:  OK, then yes.  He slapped that ass.

jimmy:  Is there a rule against that?  Like not tugging on Superman’s cape?

tomk:  There probably should be.

jimmy:  And if I’m sending an away team to find Orion while I go to fight Brainiac on Apokolips…I think I want Wonder Woman with me.

tomk:  I don’t think Batman was gonna find Orion by himself. And Wonder Woman understands gods.

jimmy:  I guess Green Lantern was off starring in a buddy cop movie with the Flash.

tomk:  You mean the guy with a belt and some rope isn’t the guy you take into space?

jimmy:  Oh, you always take Batman.

tomk:  He would figure out a way to go on his own even if you tried to leave him behind.

Unless the time stream changes.  Then you maybe leave him behind.

jimmy:  Heh.  That’s true.

tomk:  Besides, who is gonna toss shade at Superman?

jimmy:  “Cry me a river.”  Bats got no fear.

tomk:  Neither does Supes:  “Bruce, you aren’t always right.”

jimmy:  Well, Supes has more right not to be afraid.

tomk:  Yeah, it’s not like Bruce doesn’t have kryptonite stashed away somewhere.

jimmy:  Bruce has everything stashed away somewhere.

tomk:  He must have left the New God weakness at home then.

jimmy:  He had it.  His cape.

tomk:  That only works on Lightray since Batman is a creature of darkness.

New Gods do have a kryptonite of their own.  It’s called Radion.

jimmy:  Oh?  I didn’t know that.

tomk:  It doesn’t come up often.

jimmy:  And if Orion is Darkseid son, how come he doesn’t look like he’s made out of rocks?

tomk:  I’ve seen comics where he starts to turn that way when he gets angry enough.

jimmy:  You won’t like Orion when he’s angry.

tomk:  And he’s always angry, but now he sounds like Ron Pearlman.

jimmy:  And had a bigger role than the other character involved in the great son swap.

tomk:  Mr Miracle comes later.

jimmy:  He was an afterthought here, though they did linger on him a bit when he strolled up at the end.

tomk:  We got more from Forager.  Which is fine because Forager is a cool character.

jimmy:  Didn’t we just talk or you wrote a missing heroes about him?

tomk:  I don’t think so.  He had a nice role in the most recent season of Young Justice.

jimmy:  Hmm. I’m sure he came up recently.

tomk:  We probably were telling Watson to stop rooting through other people’s lunches in the company fridge.

jimmy:  I wish he’d stop that. Things are clearly labeled!

tomk: We want to keep our food away from bugs of all kinds.

jimmy:  Forager doesn’t have a big role here. Your adoration must come from the comics.

tomk:  It comes from the fact when he died in Cosmic Odyssey, Orion disrespected him, so Batman slapped him and made Orion give Forager a respectful burial.

jimmy:  Batman.  No fear.

tomk:  Forager is a mortal being on a planet of immortal beings, and he’s a good enough warrior to earn their respect.

Except for Orion, who like Picard and Princess Allura, is a Space Racist.

jimmy:  They’re just rats.

tomk:  Forager’s people are usually called bugs…

jimmy:  Sorry, I knew I had that wrong. Yes, bugs.

Beneath even being noticed…until they save everyone.

tomk:  I dunno. Sometimes they get noticed:

jimmy:  Yeah…you won’t see that on Justice League.

tomk:  Why?  Too violent?

jimmy:  You think?  Or was it the F-bombs?  Hard to say.

tomk:  Well, same actor as Darkseid.

jimmy:  Yes.  You don’t see Michael Ironside around much anymore.

tomk:  But how did Darkseid work for you here?  We got some continuity from the Superman series here.

jimmy:  I thought he was good.  Here’s a question for you as the resident DC expert, was this plan too…I dunno…”manipulative” or “sneaky” for Darkseid?  I think of him more as being a force of nature, not tricking characters to do his bidding.

tomk:  Darkseid’s plans are never what they seem to be. It’s very appropriate. He doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, regardless.

jimmy:  Fair enough.  And now he’s dead.

tomk:  He went out calling Superman a loser.

jimmy:  Only Batman can get away with that.

tomk:  And he does it to Superman’s face. Not like that Darkseid guy.

“Call me that to my face, Darkseid!”

jimmy:  So, do we believe for one second that Darkseid died in that explosion?  Brainiac I can see, though also unlikely.  But not Darkseid.

tomk:  Brainiac has been blown up at least six or seven times by now. This time he just blew up inside a giant version of his own head.

jimmy:  What are the odds of finding an asteroid in the shape of ones own head?

tomk:  Much higher of you carve it yourself.

Or lower.  I’m not an oddsmaker.

jimmy:  Brainiac has too much time on his hands.

tomk:  And a lot of extra bodies.

jimmy:  Tis true.

tomk:  Lots of apparently expendable bodies.

jimmy:  So who wrote the code for the machine that Darkseid uses to take over Brainiac…or is it Apokolyptian “magic”?

tomk:  I’d say Desaad, but he wasn’t around for long.

jimmy:  Yeah, you don’t tell the big guy he’s making foolish decisions.

tomk:  Even if the part was recast with the same actor who played him on the Superfriends.

jimmy:  Was Desaad played by René Auberjonois?

tomk:  Well, until Desaad was vaporized, yes.

jimmy:  And he played him on Superfriends?

tomk:  He did indeed.

jimmy:  I guess I’ll watch that when Jenny watches BTAS.

tomk:  Um, yeah.  I grew up on Superfriends, but I don’t necessarily recommend it for newbies.

jimmy:  No worries, it’s not high on The List.

tomk:  What is high on The List?

jimmy:  Right now, Justice League and Star Trek: The Next Generation. 🙂

tomk:  Hm.  Good answer.

Anyway, Brainiac and Darkseid, all back to make Superman miserable and knock out J’onn again.  You must have enjoyed most of that sentence.

jimmy:  Did J’onn get knocked out this time?

tomk:  When he covered Hawkgirl during the initial attack of all the Brainiacs.

jimmy:  Ah. Right. It happens so often it’s like breathing.

So we got a bit of background on Thanagar. It’s like, really far away.

tomk:  No Green Lanterns out there!

And she got to Earth thanks to a transporter accident!

jimmy:  We’re crossing the streams again.

And speaking of no Green Lanterns, he sure would have come in handy on this trio of space locales.

tomk:  How is her stated backstory crossing the streams?

jimmy:  Just the transporter accident part.

tomk:  That’s what she said happened to her.

jimmy:  Yes, just, you know…transporters…Star Trek. Anywho, that’s quite the accident to send her, in her eyes, beyond charted space.

tomk:  Hey, she’s lucky that’s all that happened. Transporters are dangerous.

And that is crossing the streams.

jimmy:  Lol

Well, at least Hawkgirl’s head is facing the right direction.

tomk:  That would have been awkward.

jimmy:  Or maybe it is on backwards. We haven’t seen any other Thangarians.

tomk:  Hmmm. Good point. You get a gold star!

jimmy:  Wahoo!

tomk:  Brainiac shrunk it and put it in a jar.

jimmy:  My gold star?

tomk:  Yes.

That’s how Brainiac rolls.

jimmy:  Speaking of rolling, should we move on or do you have more to add here?

tomk:  I think I am good. This one clearly shows continuity with Superman’s show. And there’s a treat for you next time:  a story that doesn’t at any point knock out the Martian Manhunter.

“Tabula Rosa”

Lex Luthor finds a new ally to fight the Justice League–an android who takes the powers and skills of anything it sees!

jimmy:  Having Amazo duplicate their powers is great from a television standpoint but really stretches the limits of extending belief. Especially inheriting their weaknesses as well.

tomk:  At least the episode acknowledged Amazo is essentially unbeatable in a straight fight.

jimmy:  Good thing he flies off to the stars at the end.

tomk:  After absorbing the power of a star apparently.

jimmy:  I know the doctor that created him was dead,  but they had the blueprints for him right there. I wonder will someone create a new Amazo?

tomk:  Well, I could tell you.

jimmy:  Or we could wait and see.

tomk:  Maybe he’d look more comics accurate!

jimmy:  …I think I’d stick with the android look.

tomk:  The play-doh look works better for you?

jimmy:  Better than the above.

tomk:  You probably had some ideas when Amazo started off by asking Luthor to please state the nature of the medical emergency.

jimmy:  Heh. Fitting, since Luther did need medical assistance.

tomk:  Mostly a good psychiatrist.

jimmy:  That too. At least Mercy got out from under his thumb. Maybe.

tomk:  Hey, you doubted Mercy could do that back when we saw that Superman episode where Braniac captured Luthor and Mercy teamed up with Superman to find her boss.

Look at her now!  She don’t need ol’ chrome dome no more!

jimmy:  She’s turned into an ass kicker. Mostly. He still seemed to have power over her, but she made some bold moves.

tomk:  She got rid of the guy as soon as she could.  He probably still technically owned the company.  It is somewhat amusing to see Mercy point out how bad for business all of Luthor’s schemes actually were.

jimmy:  Luthor was more about destroying Superman than becoming a billionaire.

tomk:  He already was a billionaire. Then some guy in a cape shows up and won’t take a bribe…

jimmy:  Stupid guys in capes!

tomk:  Some guys can pull it off.

jimmy:  But not all lawyers can.

tomk:  Luthor might have been better off if he had one that could.  

Though Watson and Ryan can’t pull off capes. And if J’onn read Watson’s mind, he’d probably go flee to the woods again.

jimmy:  The woods on Jupiter maybe.

tomk:  Now that’s just silly.  Jupiter is a gas giant.  It doesn’t have any woods.

jimmy:  That’s how scarring it would be.

tomk:  There might be a Monolith, but only if the year is 2001.

jimmy:  Instead we get 2020. Ugh.

tomk:  Imagine what the time travelers might say…

jimmy:  It’s a shame that movie was lost in the fire.

tomk:  We could have had so many vague warnings.

Unlike J’onn, who learned all about the fetishes of various people on the street.

jimmy:  At least he stayed conscious.

tomk:  That must have made you happy.

jimmy:  Well, he replaced it with more “being unable to act due to mind games”, but it’s a step up.

tomk:  Even then, it wasn’t a mind game.  It was supreme disappointment over humanity.  He wanted away from what he saw as such a vain and petty species.  He only really comes back after finding more selfless people who apparently don’t recognize him.

jimmy:  Well, not everyone in America knows who the Justice League are.  Umm…

tomk:  It looks like not everyone outside Metropolis does if the whole thing takes place in and around that city.

jimmy:  Well, almost the entire Marvel Universe takes place in New York, so hard to fault them there.

tomk:  It’s a good thing the people he brought the girl back to were open-minded.  It could have been so much worse.

jimmy:  Haha, one of my all time favorite episodes.

tomk:  Well, it fits the theme for this one.  Maybe.  Kinda.

Did I mention I think there’s an uptick in quality for season two?

jimmy:  You may have previously, but not lately.  In terms of stories, production, both?

tomk:  Story quality.  Production goes with that to an extent.  But look over this and “Twilight,” and we have something that’s building off what we already have.  The character work is pretty top-notch, arguably the villains so far as better than many from season one, and the action works better.  They may have finally figured out how to make the Flash look fast, too.

jimmy:  Slightly related, Amazo imitating the Flash hitting on Mercy was gold.

tomk:  Amazo.  Copies.  Everything.

He probably grunts like Hawkgirl when he has to show any effort now.

jimmy:  Speaking of Amazo, obviously there is a very different looking comic version. What’s his deal?

tomk:  Originally built by Professor Ivo, he could copy the powers of everyone he came into physical contact with. Usually required the whole League to take him down.

jimmy:  Did he copy their weaknesses too?

tomk:  I think so.

There have been some interesting variations. Mark Millar wrote a fill in issue during Morrison’s JLA run where Amazo automatically copied the powers of the entire League, so his power grew as more reinforcements showed up.

Superman defeated it by disbanding the League.

Barry Allen took Amazo out single handedly in the Elseworlds story The Nail by vibrating its robot brain out of its head since Amazo can copy powers but can’t think creatively. Later on the sequel Another Nail, it turns out Darkseid built Amazo and hid it on Earth in the past. Ivo didn’t build Amazo so much as find him, add a brain, and turn him on.

jimmy:  I guess I need to re-read The Nail Duology.

tomk:  Eh, the first one is fine.  The second not so much.

I need to write that review

jimmy:  That’s what I remember as well.

tomk:  But you know what Amazo remembered?  That kryptonite is dangerous.

Wait, did Batman…lose this round?

jimmy:  Batman never loses.  And it was only dangerous until he adapted.

tomk:  Yeah, well, when Batman couldn’t stop the android a second time, it sure was a good thing J’onn showed up to give it…more power.  Ummm…

jimmy:  They even kept telling folks like Superman and J’onn to stay away.  But did they listen?  Noooo.

tomk:  Supes tried to blind him.  And how much did you like seeing Supes cut loose?

jimmy:  He still feels a bit depowered, but he’s getting there.

tomk:  It was his turn to be knocked out too.  He’s the only Leaguer not standing when Amazo leaves.

And J’onn realized the thing that drove him off would work just as well on a naive android.

jimmy:  Let’s face it.  They were toast until Amazo decided to turn himself into a star.

tomk:  And then he vaporized the planet with his intense heat and gravity as he flew away.

jimmy:  Somewhere along the lines he absorbed being a jerk.

tomk:  He was tired of being jerked around.  Because, um, Luthor did it so everyone did it.

jimmy:  Some people are just jerks.

tomk:  Well, you can’t expect the League to win all the time.  And you just know, at some point, Amazo will return.

jimmy:  I do now.

tomk:  Superman said he would.  Then Luthor can start praying.

jimmy:  Those androids will always be back.

tomk:  Well, at least we saw J’onn save the day.  And stay conscious.

Plus, Batman showed how badass he can be.

After Amazo ponders how Batman has no powers.

Batman doesn’t need powers.

He’s Batman!

jimmy:  You’re God damn right.

tomk:  You know what we need?  We need to see J’onn and Batman save the day and not let the bad guy get away in the end!

jimmy:  We do?  We do!

tomk:  Guess what happens in the next story!

jimmy:  J’onn and Batman save the day and not let the bad guy get away in the end?

tomk:  Maybe.

Or, it could be…one of my favorite two-parters.

jimmy:  Or both!

tomk:  Shall we?

jimmy:  To the viewing box!

“Only a Dream”

Small time criminal John Dee gains power over dreams, transforming himself into Doctor Destiny.  Can someone help most of the League wake up from their endless nightmares?

jimmy:  Man, the son of Skeletor and Freddy Kruger can sure be a jerk.

tomk:  Dr. Destiny killed someone. Of course he’s a jerk.

jimmy:  No wonder they wouldn’t parole him.

tomk:  But he’s only a jerk when he’s super powered or asleep. Otherwise, he’s a model prisoner dreaming of killing superheroes.

jimmy:  Outside of that period where he wasn’t asleep or super powered and knocked out the doctor to give himself the powers.

tomk:  Right.  Model prisoner.

jimmy:  And defeated by Batman with his super staying awake powers.

tomk:  Batman does have one power:  he never gives up.

jimmy:

tomk:  This non giving up hero guy hums more.

jimmy:  Whoda thunk it?  He also doesn’t use power windows.

tomk:  Not for the front windshield.

jimmy:  He punches out the driver side window.

tomk:  Oh well.  It was symbolism.  He was mad.

jimmy:  It does kind of look like the front windowshield the way it is framed (and that would make more sense), but it also looks like it is the driver side with the front on the far left of the screen.  Either way, yes, he was mad…and hopped up on coffee.

tomk:  And bad commercial jingles.

But that looks like the steering wheel on the lower right of the hole.

jimmy:  Ah, the front windshield is two panes.  Ok, that makes more sense.

And the jingle is set to the tune of Frère Jacques/Brother John, about a monk who has overslept.

tomk:  Good catch!  You get a gold star!

jimmy:  Woo!

tomk:  And this time, it’s no dream!

jimmy:  So is Skelekruger a new or existing character?

tomk:  Dr. Destiny is a classic Justice League villain. For some reason, he gets locked up in Arkham, so Batman kicked him down the stairs in Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum  graphic novel. Destiny is in a wheelchair for that. But his best known appearance is in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman run for what was probably the single scariest issue of the series where he mentally takes over a small diner and tortures the people inside over the course of 24 hours until he’s the only one left alive.

jimmy:  Another Sandman reference eh?

tomk:  Yeah. Go read it and write a review or something. Or don’t. It’s your decision.

jimmy:  Geez. Enough peer pressure already, Tom.

tomk:  Fine. Jimmy is always right in everything he does. He is the anti-Watson.

jimmy:  Being the anti-Watson is easy. You just need to have a soul.

tomk:  Like the Justice League membership?  They don’t go around mentally torturing their ex-wives to death.

jimmy:  Do any of them have ex-wives?

tomk:  Bruce left one at the bottom of the ocean!

jimmy:  This is true.

tomk:  

jimmy:  Speaking of “wives”, I found it odd that Lois and Jimmy (and probably others) got voice credits for part one, though only appeared in part two.

tomk:  Well, I assume they just credit everybody for both parts.  By the by, that was Jimmy’s last speaking part in the DCAU.  If he appears again, he has nothing to say.

jimmy:  Jimmys don’t usually say much.

tomk:  Lois, though, we’ll see her again.  Apparently, Clark’s biggest nightmare is a really bad date.

jimmy:  Well, he did keep getting more and more powerful and was burning holes in everything to start.

tomk:  So, who had the scariest dream?

jimmy:  Hmm. Hawkgirl?

tomk:  Whose dream we barely saw.

jimmy:  Well, the others weren’t scary.

tomk:  I dunno.  There were some hungry kids following the Flash.

jimmy:  Right. I forgot about the vampire kids.

tomk:  Then again, that must be a normal dream for the Flash.  He didn’t bat an eyelash for that part.  Not even the frog in the fridge.

jimmy:  That seemed to be almost filler compared to the rest of his dream.

tomk:  It’s his deepest fear:  that he won’t be able to stop going fast.

jimmy:  That makes sense.  Supes growing powerful beyond control makes a certain sense.  GL feeling bad because he is snubbed by his community is kinda weak.  And Hawkgirl’s biggest fear is being buried alive?  That seems random.

tomk:  Buried alive works for Storm!

But GL’s fear seems to be he’s more alien than man and the ring taking over his life.

jimmy:  That’s a better description.

tomk:  It also fits in with what J’onn says when he shows up.

jimmy:  Sure, take J’onn’s side and what the script says, why don’t ya?

tomk:  Look, you got two in a row where J’onn stayed conscious.  Doesn’t that please you at all?

jimmy:  It’s a start.

tomk:  And J’onn did rescue most of the League.

Batman probably did most of the heavy lifting though.  His mind is not a nice place.

jimmy:  That could have been an interesting journey…though I feel we’ve seen similar in the comics.

tomk:  Or his own show.

Besides, just the look he got left Destiny comatose and humming that song for maybe the rest of his life. Imagine if he went deeper.

jimmy:  His show too, yes.  Yeah, you don’t tug on Superman’s cape or look into the mind of the Batman.

tomk:  And if he shows up at your secret hideout, maybe just surrender.

jimmy:  And maybe hurry up with his coffee.

tomk:  And if he’s humming…

jimmy:  At least he wasn’t smiling.  Just the sight of that can send the strongest man to Arkham.

tomk:  Or laughing. Laughing is worse. He did that to Harley in “Mad Love” and that creeped her out more than anything.

jimmy:  A Batman who laughs. Now there’s a scary concept.

tomk:  A Batman who has to explain to Earl why he needs a new windshield…probably less scary. At least Batgirl didn’t get the car trashed again.

jimmy:  I bet Earl doesn’t ask any questions.

tomk:  Not if he wants to keep those fat Batmobile commissions coming in.

jimmy:  Bats probably pays well.

tomk:  Maybe. He didn’t get to be a billionaire by paying out large sums of money all the time.

jimmy:  I think he can to keep Earl quiet.

tomk:  He can keep lots of people quiet. Look how he made Firefly quiet (again).

jimmy:  That doesn’t appear to be difficult. (Though ultimately it was Green Lantern that shut them down.)

tomk:  Yeah, well, Volcana should’ve stayed on her island.

jimmy:  She probably ran out of stuff to melt.

tomk:  And Luminous?

jimmy:  He trapped Hawkgirl in a small box. Foreshadowing much?

tomk:  Or informing the audience so we know her fear later.

jimmy:  Oh those tricky writers!

tomk:  Not as tricky as Hawkgirl’s bluffing. Just ask Copperhead!

jimmy:  Well, it wasn’t a very good plan.

tomk:  Better than Grundy’s.

jimmy:  That’s not saying much.

tomk:  Not as good as Destiny’s. He just forgot not to mess with Batman.

jimmy:  The downfall of plans since 1939.

tomk:  But we’re three stories into season two, and I feel confident enough to say it’s an improvement over season one. We ever got some almost flirting between GL and Hawkgirl.

jimmy:  And between Flash and everyone. But that was season 1 as well.

tomk:  Well, do you think the quality is any better right now?

jimmy:  If you hadn’t told me, I don’t know that I would have noted it, but it has been good.

tomk:  J’onn has been a lot more conscious and Superman seems stronger.

The Flash’s speed animation also looks better.

And Batman is still Batman.

jimmy:  All pluses.

tomk:  Plus, Darkseid, Brainiac, Luthor, Amazo, and Destiny are all cool villains. Heck, we didn’t mention Destiny was voiced by Walter Atherton, the best in bland evil since Ghostbusters.

jimmy:  Also well known for being a jerk in Die Hard.

tomk:  He plays lots of jerks.

Heck, you called Dr. Destiny a jerk at the start of this episode chat.

jimmy:  And that’s, as we say in the game, is coming full circle.

tomk:  Ready to move on to a Wonder Woman-centric story?

jimmy:  Sure, since she played no roll at all in this one.

tomk:  She makes up for it in the next one.

Next Time:  Tom and Jimmy will be back soon with discussions of the episodes “Maid of Honor,” “Hearts and Minds,” and “A Better World”.

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