Here we go again with more DCAU talk from Jimmy and Tom, two guys who started a project and don’t know when to stop!
Well, sooner or later, they’ll run out of episodes.
For now, we have the episodes “Hereafter,” “Wild Cards,” and the Christmas episode “Comfort and Joy”.
jimmy: Many futuristic creatures were harmed in the filming of this episode.
But that’s ok, since Superman wiped them all out of existence anyway.
tomk: And then even more futuristic creatures were harmed.
jimmy: It was a blood bath.
tomk: But he did have a sweet ride for a while there.
jimmy: It’s a good thing he did. Imagine the beard he’d have on him if he had to walk all the way to Metropolis. Wait, shouldn’t he have already been in Metropolis?
tomk: We never know what city he’s in.
Maybe the Superman Revenge Squad accidentally sent him to another time zone as well as another era.
jimmy: Given that Toyman really had no idea what he was doing, it’s quite possible.
tomk: He must have been in Newfoundland time.
jimmy: No wonder it took him so long to get anywhere.
tomk: And Canada was a hot desert. The planet was truly screwed up.
jimmy: It doesn’t say much for our species or the rest of the heroes that the death of Superman basically leads to the destruction of the world.
tomk: It’s all Ray Palmer’s fault.
Plus, if Superman wasn’t there, Deadshot kills Batman. Batman could have prevented that disaster.
jimmy: He’s Batman.
tomk: He was also almost Deadman. But he was the only one to realize Supes probably wasn’t dead.
jimmy: That was just his excuse not to cry.
tomk: But he was right!
jimmy: He’s Batman.
tomk: He’s special.
jimmy: Speaking of special, I have a few questions about Mr. Savage.
tomk: Yes, he is that stylish.
So, being Immortal, he obviously has some form of healing factor. I think he even says to Superman that killing him would do no good.
tomk: Well, it would probably be impossible.
jimmy: Like, is it a Deadpool kinda thing where if you chop his arm off, one grows back?
tomk: Depends on the story. Some say he harvests organs from his legions of descendants.
jimmy: Hadn’t heard that one.
I mean, I knew he was immortal but it never really occurred to me that it went hand in hand with a healing factor.
tomk: Well, when we saw him last time, he got hit by meteors from orbit and his body was putting itself back together. Some sort of healing is probably necessary.
jimmy: That’s true.
Ok. So if he is immortal…why does he vanish at the end of the episode? Or is it just that that timeline version of him no longer exists?
tomk: The timeline no longer existed. He’s probably still out there.
And if he didn’t heal, something like this would happen:
jimmy: Yeah. That wouldn’t be a good look for a super villain.
tomk: Just ask the Brain of the Brotherhood of Evil, archfoe of the Doom Patrol.
jimmy: I don’t know who that is, but sure!
tomk: This is him in the front:
jimmy: Looks kinda like Brainiac.
tomk: That’s just his canister. The ape usually carries him places.
jimmy: Apes. Is there anything they can’t do?
tomk: Wear comfortable pants?
jimmy: That seems to fall more on the tailors than the apes.
tomk: Order the perfect wine at a fine restaurant to accompany a meal?
jimmy: Why do you hate apes, Tom?
tomk: I don’t. And the Brain’s partner Monsiuer Mallah can probably do both of those things. Maybe Caesar can too. Grodd can’t. He’s an alcoholic who needs to avoid booze.
jimmy: Speaking of apes, are we surprised that Lobo is not JL material?
tomk: Surprisingly, Lobo actually thought to join in the first place for his only Justice League appearance.
jimmy: Yeah, he doesn’t seem to be much of a team player. Though he does show up on different teams now and then in the comics.
tomk: Rarely because he’s wanted.
jimmy: Not by Superman, that’s for sure.
tomk: Superman is apparently the only one Lobo will listen to when he tells Lobo to leave.
jimmy: They have history.
tomk: Almost respect.
jimmy: Batman would have taken him out eventually if Superman hadn’t returned. And Deadshot hadn’t killed him.
tomk: Yes. Batman in mourning is a vulnerable Batman.
jimmy: In Batman’s defense, you’d think the others would have done more to try to find out if Supes was actually dead.
tomk: They aren’t as smart as he is. You expect the Flash to question the evidence?
jimmy: No. Maybe J’onn or John…or Ray Palmer.
tomk: Ray Palmer does not appear in this episode.
Then again, I’ve seen observations that Ray Palmer in any big story these days will just make things worse.
jimmy: He always seems to be getting lost or causing issues. He’s like The Flash with a time machine.
tomk: Well, he doesn’t appear anywhere until Unlimited.
jimmy: No, but Savage mentions him.
tomk: And he screwed things up. Stupid nuclear physicist…
jimmy: It’s not like it’s brain surgery.
tomk: Right. That’s what you call Solomon Grundy for.
tomk: But hey, we got an episode where the writers made a pun of the title. In part one, everyone who isn’t Batman thinks Supes is dead and in the hereafter. In part two, we find out Superman was here after the others all died.
tomk: Not my pun.
jimmy: Slow clap worthy all the same.
tomk: No arguments. I can agree to that like Kalibak saying uncle if you pile enough cars onto him.
jimmy: What a contrast in tone between the first and second parts.
tomk: True. The second part was much more a sci-fi survival story. The first was missing a friend.
jimmy: With almost no ties to each other.
tomk: Just Superman.
jimmy: Well, yes.
BTW Superman, if Wonder Woman says she likes your beard…YOU KEEP THE BEARD!
tomk: Lois Lane carries more weight.
jimmy: That’s the only reason I give him a pass. For now.
tomk: Besides, people would notice if Clark Kent grew a full beard in a day or two. He’s not Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne.
jimmy: Would they though?
tomk: Lois Lane? Superstar journalist? Are you suggesting she isn’t very observant?
jimmy: The entire world is fooled by a fake pair of glasses. I’m not sure the beard will be a giveaway.
tomk: Well, the Kents and Lana Lang got seats in the church for the funeral. Maybe less people are fooled than you think.
jimmy: If the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s how ridiculous some of these secret identity disguises are. Nowadays you see people with almost full face masks on and you can still recognize them.
But, I think we already knew this…
tomk: That’s why Batman speaks in a scarier voice.
jimmy: It probably works better than a pair of glasses.
tomk: Maybe both.
Though speaking of voices, I was pleasantly surprised when “Secret Society” brought back original voice actors for many of those returning voices, but then only Michael Dorn comes back for the five member Revenge Squad. And Corey Burton voices three of them and none of them were Brainiac.
jimmy: I found the opening sequence a bit corny. Do you really think these characters would be sitting around a table in dark cloaks whispering vows? Especially Kalibak.
tomk: Well, I have seen that before. The Superman Revenge Squad is a real thing. Post-Crisis, it’s when five of Superman’s enemies join forces to bring the Man of Steel down. Usually they all have different goals and reasons so the group can’t even function well.
jimmy: That I get. And was evident to a degree in the first episode here. But the whole “secret cabal” thing seemed out of place for these characters.
tomk: I mostly just missed the voices of Malcolm McDowell, Lori Petty, Bud Cort, and Miguel Ferrer. But that’s me.
Besides, they tried to take down Superman, and what happens? Batman shows up. They should have just stayed home.
jimmy: So the original voices returned for that scene but not the rest of the episodes (for the most part)?
tomk: Those voices didn’t return at all. We did get Brad Garret’s Lobo, Clancy Brown’s Luthor, and Dana Delany’s Lois, but aside from Dorn’s Kalibak, they didn’t bring any of the old cast back for the other bad guys.
jimmy: I guess I didn’t pay close enough attention. But now that you mention it I do remember some of them seeming “off”.
tomk: Corey Burton did Weather Wizard, Metallo, and Toyman. I don’t know who played Livewire.
jimmy: Possibly 3 ducks in a Livewire suit.
jimmy: Those ducks are multi-talented.
tomk: OK, so, you aren’t a fan of robed chanters.
jimmy: In their place, it just seemed out of character here. Like, the writer thought it was as a cool set piece so they just went with it without thinking about it too much.
tomk: Look, if you wanna take on Big Blue, you need team uniforms, and none of those people were very good at creating unique looks. I mean, have you seen how Weather Wizard dresses?
jimmy: Heh. And the team was mostly unimportant. All they needed was Toy Man’s weapon.
tomk: And Toy Man didn’t even know what it did.
tomk: You should never try out an untested weapon against the Justice League. Start off small. Take on the Titans East Coast team first.
jimmy: Maybe he did and no one missed them.
You win this round, Mr. Impossible.
jimmy: Anything else on this episode of The Continuing Adventures of Vandal Savage?
tomk: I thought the funeral was handled well. I never believed for a moment Superman was really dead, but the funeral was done well.
jimmy: Agreed. Batman didn’t believe either because he’s read a comic in the past 80 years.
tomk: Or Alfred was right and Bats was in denial.
jimmy: Bats knows what it’s like to be thought dead but lost in time. See Final Crisis.
tomk: If you can follow the story in Final Crisis, sure.
jimmy: Ok, see post Final Crisis.
tomk: Oh yes. That.
So, he knew Supes was lost in time?
jimmy: He suspected. 🙂
(Sure. Why not?)
tomk: Well, he is Batman. Letting go after the deaths of loved ones is his thing.
Wait a minute…
Well, all this Batman talk is something we better enjoy while we can. Once the show becomes “Unlimited,” they couldn’t use any Batman-related characters other than Batman for Justice League.
jimmy: Hardly “unlimited” then wouldn’t you say?
tomk: Well, less limited than seven members.
jimmy: Ah, I get it now. wink wink
tomk: Yes, well, would you like to have one last look at a pair of Batman characters?
jimmy: I would.
tomk: Well, let’s see what Joker and Harley are up to.
jimmy: Ohh nice!
tomk: Yes, one last time with Mr. J…
The Joker and his new Royal Flush Gang set a trap for the League in Las Vegas!
jimmy: So for a split second I was positive that Hawkgirl was going to be hideously scarred or have the actual features of a bird under her helmet.
tomk: Instead, she looks like Barbara Gordon or every other female character in this universe.
jimmy: There’s a much higher percentage of red heads in comics and cartoons than in the real world.
tomk: Ok, so, she gave us her real name and unmasked this season, plus we got some more backstory. Meanwhile, we still don’t know which Flash that is.
jimmy: Probably because no one cares.
Well, maybe Watson. But no one cares about that.
tomk: Did you care that this was the last time we’d see Joker and Harley?
jimmy: I did. Though I didn’t feel it was an overly strong episode for either of them. Particularly Harley, who was barely in it.
tomk: Yeah. I’m not sure I want those two limited to narrator duty.
jimmy: And in some ways it almost felt like a “bottle episode”, or at least mandated to “keep the costs low” or “save the animators wrists” as it seemed like they were often cutting away from the action with Joker saying something like, “well, we don’t need to see Supes beating up 10”, or whatever.
tomk: The timer was accurate to the episode’s runtime.
jimmy: I did notice that, which was cool. And obviously added digitally later. Though at one point it did sync up exactly with the one of the bomb timers on the show.
tomk: The one the Flash outran the explosion for?
jimmy: Sounds right, but I don’t remember for sure.
tomk: Well, I hope you at least enjoyed the closest Justice League came to a Teen Titans crossover.
tomk: The five actors who played the Royal Flush Gang are the same five who play (even now) the Teen Titans.
jimmy: Oh really?
tomk: Yeah. There was talk of a crossover episode since both shows were running at the same time, but Teen Titans was done in a comedic anime style and they couldn’t decide which style to use. Instead, we get the Titans as a different Royal Flush Gang than the Batman Beyond version.
jimmy: I would hope so, since there is like 50 years in the difference.
tomk: Heck, Khary Payton is still Cyborg on Justice League Action.
jimmy: Oh? I only know Payton as this guy?
tomk: He did that too.
And Greg Cipes took over as Beast Boy for Young Justice this past season.
jimmy: I don’t know Greg Cipes.
tomk: He’s a voice actor.
I figure the only other Titan actor whose name you might recognize is Tara Strong since she was Raven and Batgirl.
Point is, the five of them have been doing Teen Titans for a while in multiple incarnations.
jimmy: You are so learned, Papa Tom.
tomk: It’s pronounced “learn-Ed”.
Oh, and the different members of the Gang may have been drawn to look somewhat like their voice actors.
jimmy: I wouldn’t know, but makes sense with Payton/10 at least.
tomk: I’ve seen the men in interviews. It holds up.
jimmy: I believe you.
tomk: Anyway, how about those five? With poor Ace just sitting there with Mr J for most of the story…
jimmy: She…had some problems.
tomk: She…scared everyone else.
jimmy: Even the Joker?
jimmy: That’s pretty scary then.
tomk: Yes, she scared everyone. Especially Lisa, but especially the Joker.
tomk: There was a moment in part one where Queen said she was the most powerful before glancing at Ten and changing her mind.
jimmy: Yes. Almost subtle, but telling.
tomk: Joker isn’t subtle. He put Harley in a helicopter and no one thought to talk to her sooner.
jimmy: And he didn’t see her slugging Batman in the face coming either.
tomk: Neither did Batman. He was having an off day.
jimmy: He was tired from being the only one that was either bit useful the first 15 minutes of the Joker Show.
tomk: Yes, well the executive voiced by John C McGinley listened time Batman. He was so good, that actor would play Ray Palmer on Unlimited.
jimmy: That guy’s a trouble maker.
tomk: Eh. Sometimes he’s just a guy named Bob.
jimmy: Bobs. They’re the worst.
tomk: You never provided a good answer when asked “What about Bob?”
jimmy: So last time for Joker and Harley eh? I think you’ve mentioned before but they couldn’t use the Bat supporting cast or villains when they switch to Unlimited?
tomk: True, though I am sure chronologically Return of the Joker is their last appearance. Plus Paul Dini had a cameo planned for an early draft for one of his Unlimited episodes.
However, the way this episode ends could act as a good final Joker moment.
Truth be told, I find this one a bit disappointing as Joker spends most of the episode acting as a narrator and Harley doesn’t do much until the end anyway.
jimmy: Right? Definitely wasn’t much of a swan song.
tomk: Plus, I thought most of the Royal Flush Gang was just annoying.
jimmy: Don’t tell the Titans. (But agreed.)
tomk: After seeing the way the League took down tougher and more formidable foes, these kids just seemed like some punkasses who popped up whenever the plot required it. You mean to tell me any one of those heroes couldn’t take down most of that group (save Ace because she’s a special case) by themselves? No wonder Ace is the only one to get a second appearance.
jimmy: I know I complained about this during BTAS, but probably extends to all shows and comics. Like, Batman can defeat Darkseid, but an episode later lose a fight to the Clock King.
tomk: The Clock King had the power…of good timing!
tomk: What? It’s true.
jimmy: Indeed. But this is also a classic “Superman problem”. You don’t think Supes alone couldn’t fight all these guys, find and defuse/dispose of all the bombs in a matter of minutes?
tomk: So could Flash or Green Lantern…well, Flash if he isn’t treated as a joke character.
Though I do seem to recall when Superfriends became The Legendary Superpowers Show (to match an action figure line), there was one appearance by the classic Royal Flush Gang. They were working for Darkseid, Ten or Ace (can’t remember which) switched sides to help the Justice League after befriending Robin, and it turned out one of the Gang was the Joker in disguise the whole time.
jimmy: I’m trying to remember if the RFG appeared in the DCAU outside of Batman Beyond?
tomk: They did not.
jimmy: That’s what I thought.
tomk: Though the Gang was also brutally murdered by the Joker in the first issue of Infinite Crisis.
Why do they keep tossing those guys in with the Joker? That playing card motif can’t be the only reason. Oh wait…yes, it is.
jimmy: I was just going to make the same comment.
jimmy: I’ve always suspected. Or you can read minds like J’onn.
tomk: Try not to think about a pink elephant.
jimmy: I tried. And failed.
Anyway, Mr. J is in a catatonic state, Harley is, um, going back to Arkham I guess, and the four-fifths of the Royal Flush Gang were spanked so hard they went back to Teen Titans and never came back. Anything else to add, Jimmy, or at you seeing snakes and bugs everywhere again?
jimmy: Haha. Yeah, for an episode that is saying goodbye to Joker and Harley (though they probably never knew that at the time) there isn’t a lot to talk about.
tomk: Not really. Paul Dini always wrote the best Joker-Harley stories, and he didn’t write this one.
He wrote the next one.
jimmy: Does it have Joker and Harley?
tomk: Um, no.
It’s a one part episode.
And, it’s a Christmas special.
jimmy: No Joker. No Harley. The first time there’s been a one off episode. Christmas in September. You’re really not selling this one Tom.
tomk: Well…it’ll probably be October by the time this chat goes live.
tomk: Ready to move on then?
jimmy: Bring on the mistletoe!
“Comfort and Joy”
It’s Christmas time, and the members of the League all have different ways to celebrate that time of year.
jimmy: So that was…a Christmas special.
jimmy: So what do we talk about? Hawkgirl’s ideal holidays being a bar brawl?
tomk: Batman loves monitor duty?
jimmy: He’s not big on family get togethers.
tomk: We know he spends New Year’s Eve with Commissioner Gordon.
Also, Superman turns into a big kid at Christmas.
And J’onn is a cookie thief.
jimmy: I was shocked he never went back for more. He seemed to enjoy the first one.
tomk: How do you know he didn’t?
jimmy: Well not in the show anyways.
tomk: He should have taken Santa’s form and eaten cookies all over town.
jimmy: That’s exactly what I thought he was going to do!
tomk: Are we…smarter than a Martian crime fighter?
jimmy: Maybe not. Maybe just smarter than your average bear.
tomk: How smart are bears anyway?
jimmy: Not smart enough to put a broken toy back together and reprogram it.
tomk: That’s clearly the job for cultured ape-men.
jimmy: Everyone knows ape-men love children and artificial trees.
tomk: Ultra-Humanite has been all about that since his childhood.
jimmy: Good grief.
tomk: Well, he heard the story of the Nutcracker somewhere.
jimmy: He’s going to hear a nutcracker a lot in prison.
tomk: Men in ape bodies getting their nuts cracked is more of an Umbrella Academy thing.
tomk: Then again, if you do need a villain to make things better for kids, the Ultra-Humanite is the best option. Who else was gonna do that? Luthor? The Humanite is barely a bad guy.
jimmy: Well, maybe if Flash didn’t leave his toys lying around they wouldn’t get broken.
tomk: How dare Flash try to cheer up orphans with a rare toy!
jimmy: I’m wondering if the toy was mocking something specifically like Tickle Me Elmo, or just acknowledging a common Christmas occurrence?
tomk: Methinks the latter.
jimmy: We haven’t seen much of Wonder Woman of late.
tomk: She’s not a Christian. Why should she care about Christmas?
DIANA: What is this holiday about?
CLARK: The birth of the son of God.
DIANA: Which one?
jimmy: Heh. I guess she was back at the Watchtower with Batman.
tomk: Yeah. In the Watchtower. With Batman.
J’onn had to make due in a teenage girl’s room with stuffed animals that looked like his Silver Age sidekick Zook.
jimmy: See, I wouldn’t know that! That’s why you get paid the big bucks!
jimmy: Zook gets more fan mail than me.
tomk: Yeah, but you get less hate mail than he does.
jimmy: Also true. And all of mine is from Watson.
tomk: Besides, who would you rather hang out with? A weird alien with temperature changing abilities and the power to slip through any crack or the moose?
tomk: A wise choice. There’s a reason Zook doesn’t appear much anymore.
jimmy: Sounds like someone Grant Morrison brought back in like Final Crisis or something similar.
tomk: Well, Final Crisis began with J’onn’s death, so I don’t think so.
jimmy: He was just unconscious.
tomk: They had a funeral.
jimmy: Cause that means anything in comics.
tomk: J’onn came back as a Black Lantern zombie.
jimmy: A Black Lantern zombie that loves Christmas and steals cookies?
tomk: Lamentably, no.
So, who’s left to talk about? No wonder this was a one parter.
tomk: Green Lantern makes snow angels to impress a winged girlfriend?
jimmy: I found that a little odd as well.
tomk: I found it odd when the episode was new that plot descriptions for the episode spelled out the entire J’onn and plot right down to a song for a gift, but something about this episode made serious heroes act like children anyway.
jimmy: It’s Christmas!
tomk: Yeah, or Bar Brawl Day.
jimmy: Nothing says “good will towards men” like punching an alien in the face.
tomk: Thanagar must be a fun place to party.
jimmy: And a painful place.
tomk: I prefer to go to Camelot. But it is a silly place.
tomk: Yes, well, unless you too have a sweater to grow into, do you have anything else to add?
jimmy: I wish I could grow into a sweater that way, instead of the way I am growing into things these days. And no, no I don’t.
tomk: Ready for the three part finale?
jimmy: I can’t believe we are at the end already.
tomk: Well, an end. And if you are going out, go out with a bang.
NEXT TIME: Tom and Jimmy will be back soon to cover the three-part finale to Justice League: “Starcrossed”!