Going Through The DCAU Part Eighty

Well, Jimmy and Tom have been at this for a while, finally getting to Justice League Unlimited.  What will they have to say about it?

Look, you can find out part of that answer below as they go for the first three episodes:  “Initiation,” “For the Man Who Has Everything,” and “Kid Stuff”.

“Initiation”

The League has a recruiting drive, and Green Arrow for one seems a bit reluctant to sign on.

jimmy:  When the Justice League has a recruiting drive, they don’t mess around.

tomk:  Especially if you don’t RSVP.

jimmy:  They REALLY wanted Green Arrow.  I wonder if anyone else declined.

tomk:  Well, there may be a couple we’ll see later.

jimmy:  They’ve really cranked the scope up with this incarnation.  And they thought going from BTAS/STAS/BB to JL was a big jump.

tomk:  Impressed so far?

jimmy:  Hard to say one episode in, but it was good.  The production values seem to have been upped as well.  They definitely have a much wider range of stories now that they can tell.

That said, I did wonder where the hell all these heroes were previously?  I know some showed up in previous shows.

And this is just a typical super hero cartoon/comic question.  Like, why didn’t they just beam Superman down to deal with the robot in 3 minutes?

tomk:  Some of these are small time local heroes like Green Arrow. Sometimes they may even tell you where they were before.

jimmy:  Not helping.  :stuck_out_tongue:

But anyway, it looks to have an impressive cast.  And GA was impressed with Black Canary.

tomk:  And no one was impressed by the power guitar that doesn’t get played quite so often in future episodes.

jimmy:  I did notice the theme music was heavy and a significant departure from the JL orchestral theme.

tomk:  See, when you have seven heroes, you get the full orchestra. Have 40 and it’s just one guy rockin’ out.

jimmy:

tomk:  Well, you must have been impressed how much the guy with bow took down the atomic powered death robot.

jimmy:  Impressed or thought was silly?

tomk:  Either.  Both.

jimmy:  I thought it was a bit much.  Especially the hiding behind a rock and then just running out of the way of a “nuclear blast”.

tomk:  So, you wanted Green Arrow dead. Good to know.

jimmy:  No, it just seemed to stretch the limits of extending disbelief. Especially when it easily defeated Captain Atom and Supergirl was like a gnat to it.

tomk:  Brimstone is a powerful enemy.

jimmy:  Is he from the comics?

tomk:  Yes. Usually an Apokaliptan super weapon.

jimmy:  Ah. He reminded me of this Marvel villain.

tomk:  Holocaust?

Well, no.

He’s much bigger.

jimmy:  He wasn’t as talkative on the show.

tomk:  And he has a single obvious weak point. Like a Go-Bots villain.

jimmy:  I know almost nothing about Go-Bots.

tomk:  There’s nothing really to know if you know Transformers.

Same deal.

But that one had a deactivation spot on its underside.

jimmy:  Good thing people build robots with convenient off switches.

tomk:  Yes, yes it is.

Maybe next time have the Kryptonian or the living nuclear reactor or the guy with the most powerful weapon in the universe know that faster.

jimmy:  Well, maybe if the Chinese just told them that instead of to get off their lawn.

tomk:  Or whatever unnamed country that was.

jimmy:  Yeah, that.

tomk:  And remember that anybody can be the Batman if you didn’t bring Batman.

jimmy:  Green Arrow is no Batman.

tomk:  He was originally a Batman rip off.

jimmy:  Yeah, and I can see that. And they have the same personal trainer. GA’s shoulders are as wide as a house.

tomk:  Or, you know, all the men are drawn in the same model.  That said, GA does have a purpose to be there.  Even Batman pointed it out:  they need someone to provide a human point of view.  Green Arrow is, basically, the hero who looks out for the little guy and can act as the League’s conscience.

jimmy:  Don’t they have Robin or Nightwing or Batgirl for that?

tomk:  Not with the Bat-embargo in place.

jimmy:  Remind me again why that was brought in?

tomk:  DC would only let different characters appear in so many places at once.  Robin was on Teen Titans, so no Titans.  The Batman may have also been running by then, so no other Batman characters in the DCAU (except Batman).  Also, the Nolan movies might have been a factor, hence why Ra’s al-Ghul and Scarecrow didn’t appear on The Batman.

So, no Batman foes, no sidekicks, no Alfred, no Commissioner Gordon.

jimmy:  Well, they do have about 900 members of the Justice League so they’re probably set. I would think this would be more of an issue for villains, but not like they used many of the Bat-villains in Justice League and didn’t do much (ahem) justice to the ones they did use.

tomk:  Except for, you know, that one guy.

jimmy:  It’s funny since this is the exact opposite of what Marvel does. Like, when Spider-Man 2 came out there were like 10 mini-series featuring Doc Ock.

tomk:  Comics are different.  We’re talking cartoons.

jimmy:  Stop being so right all the time!

tomk:  Is that a fair complaint, judges? 

jimmy:  The judges are tough but fair.

tomk:  True.

I hope you noticed that GA did bond a bit with Supergirl.

jimmy:  Yeah. More of a father or big brother bond than with Hawkgirl.

tomk:  Green Arrow and Hawkgirl?  Kinky.

jimmy:  Sorry, misread that as Green Lantern…though the comment is basically the same.

tomk:  Yes, yes it is.

She needs a friend who isn’t stern ol’ Clark.

jimmy:  How old is she?  When do you graduate to “woman” status as Hawkgirl clearly wasn’t a girl. Well, yes, she’s a girl, but not a kid.

tomk:  We saw Superwoman with the Crime Syndicate. 

Besides, Kara dioesn’t seem overly mature to me here.

jimmy:  Right. But generally “girl” is reserved for a younger hero. Though there is Power Girl…aw, they just don’t care.

tomk:  Now you’re getting it.

Give yourself a pat on a back, and maybe you’ll win a date with Power Girl.

jimmy:  And Kara’s girl moniker fits fine.

tomk:  And there are worse superhero names.

jimmy:  A date with Power Girl?  I don’t think I could handle that.

tomk:  

jimmy:  Definitely.

tomk:  And then there’s Doctor Manhattan not doing anything but exploding at an inconvenient time.

jimmy:  That’s Captain Manhattan to you.

tomk:  Why don’t you take the stick out, Canuck?

jimmy:  At least he got a new suit out of it.

tomk:  Eh, it probably looks exactly like the old one.

jimmy:  Maybe he’ll get a new hat?

tomk:  Maybe.

Well, we have a newer, bigger team.  We have some new heroes introduced, and some guy in a Robin Hood hat saved the day and then opted to stick around because he has a thing for fishnet stockings.

It is somewhat appropriate to focus on Green Arrow a bit here.  He was the first “new” member to join the Justice League once upon a time.

jimmy:  Back in the days before Bats and Supes were members?

tomk:  Well, no.

The original comic book line-up was Bats, Supes, Diana, Aquaman, J’onn, Hal, and Barry.

jimmy:  Are you talking the Morrison run?

tomk:  But Superman and Batman were often too busy to help and would only make short cameos in most stories in the early days.  The book was there more to promote lesser heroes and those two had their own solo books.

And I am talking the Silver Age.

Though in the Morrison run, we had a Big Seven…with Green Arrow Connor Hawke being the first new member.

jimmy:  Ok. I thought they weren’t on the original team. They were just too busy.

tomk:  Yeah.  Many of those stories ended with what looked like the others telling Bats and Supes what they missed because they had other cases to take care of.

jimmy:  Those lazy bastards.

tomk:  Well, maybe.  But it does look like here when Superman asks for help, people show up.

jimmy:  Well, he is Superman.

I’d be willing to bet there were heroes in the crowd that never get featured in a story.

tomk:  No, not really.

Many do, though.

But really, Superman asks for help, people show up.  Batman asks for help, people wonder when Batman got a concussion and then show up to help for completely different reasons.

It’s not even a big emergency.  He just asks for everyone to come hang out in space.

jimmy:  For the first episode at least it is the announcement of the expanding roster.  Time will tell (and you already know) if a few dozen heroes are hanging at the Watchtower 2.0 constantly waiting for the call like it’s a fire hall.

tomk:  All I know is it takes a real paragon of virtue, greatly respected by one and all, to get that many heroes out to help.  You gotta be Superman or Captain America.

jimmy:  Is there anything Disney doesn’t own?!?

tomk:  Honduras.

jimmy:  Only a matter of time.

tomk:  They’ve been busy redecorating the Moose’s place.

jimmy:  Given the wealth of heroes in the DCAU, it only makes sense to expand the roster.  It probably results in a lot more work for the show designers up front to come up with the look for all the characters, and I imagine leads to less voice over work for the main cast.  Though more work for the new cast members and the voice casting director.

tomk:  They usually team new heroes up with old ones, at least to start, but the Flash has no lines for a while.

It also probably allows the writers to work with all kinds of heroes they might not have gotten on the show otherwise.

jimmy:  For sure. The writers (and viewers) are the greatest beneficiaries.

tomk:  And that of course means the next episode only features the Big Three.

jimmy:  Haha, well, that didn’t take long.

tomk:  Yeah, but it’s based on an Alan Moore story.

jimmy:  Before or after he went crazy?

tomk:  I think Alan Moore might have always been a little crazy.

jimmy:   Judges?

…I think that means “yes”.

tomk:  Well, shall we see the one adaptation of his work that Alan Moore maybe hasn’t complained about?

jimmy:  That “maybe” is a stretch, but yes, I’m intrigued.

“For the Man Who Has Everything”

It’s Superman’s birthday and someone sent him an unexpected present…

jimmy:  Ah. This one. From the Watchmen team.

tomk:  The very same.

Rumor had it this was the only adaptation of his work Moore approved of, but it was more like he never complained about it.

jimmy:  Still.  That’s Huge.

tomk:  Most likely he’s never seen it or been asked about it.

Especially since he said he wasn’t going to comment any more after the V for Vendetta movie came out.

jimmy:  I sometimes forget how “recent” these shows are.

tomk:  Have you read the original story?

jimmy:  I know of it as a collector as it has some value, but no, I don’t think I have.

tomk:  This was a very faithful adaptation.

jimmy:  By relative unknown John Marc DeMatteis.

tomk:  Unlimited does bring in a few noteworthy comic book writers for various episodes.

But for this adaptation, the biggest changes were the absence of the Jason Todd Robin, Wonder Woman does not do well at all in the fight, and Batman’s unseen “perfect life” actually involved marrying Batwoman and having a family.  Oh, the Silver Age…

jimmy:  Instead we get Thomas Wayne: Asskicker, a la Flashpoint.

tomk:  Yes.

And Kevin Conroy as the voice of Joe Chill.

jimmy:  Ah. I missed that.

tomk:  Of course, now we know Batwoman is gay and Bruce’s cousin, and Bruce lives in Gotham, not Shelbyville.

jimmy:  He just retires there.

tomk:  Obviously.

jimmy:  Does the original story show Mongul’s “paradise”?

tomk:  Yeah. Lots of aliens including Brainiac and Adam Strange kneeling in tribute.

jimmy:  I thought it might have been that he was Thanos.

tomk:  More like a wannabe Darkseid.

jimmy:  Tomato, tomato.

tomk:  One tomato will just subjugate your will to his. The other gives you at best a 50/50 chance of living.

jimmy:  Potato, potato?

tomk:  That’s just a different vegetable.

jimmy:  I cuss, you cuss, we all cuss for asparagus?

tomk:  You’re just grasping at straws now.  It’s rather corny.

jimmy:  Nice.

So you say in the comic WW is no match for Mongul?

tomk:  She hurts her hand the first time she punches him.

jimmy:  I was thinking it odd that she would while Supes defeats him…but he really didn’t. He was done in by his own gift.

tomk:  Which she delivered.

Unlike the original comic when I think Jason Todd did it.

jimmy:  Nobody likes that kid.

tomk:  He was basically just a Dick Grayson clone at the time.

jimmy:  Before he became just a dick.

tomk:  You sure are saucy this time around.

jimmy:  Maybe I’m just bitter an alien flower never attached to me and showed me my perfect life that I vowed never to forget but never mention again.

tomk:  You mean the Ms. and the Moose aren’t a perfect life?

jimmy:  Oh, yes, I mean of course. But the 2ndest perfect life.

tomk:  Where the Ms. is Malin Ackerman?

jimmy:  I don’t know what your obsession with Malin Ackerman is Tom.

tomk:  Maybe it was one where the final season of GoT didn’t make you mutter strange epitaphs under your breath.

jimmy:  Warmer.

So, was Kal’s wife Lois?  It didn’t quite seem to be, and I don’t think they say her name.

tomk:  Looked like Lois with Lana’s face…

jimmy:  Clark, you horny devil.

tomk:  Better dreams than Bruce.  Even when he gets what he wants, it’s awfully violent.

jimmy:  But parents are awfully alive.  Wasn’t there an episode of BTAS where Scarecrow did something similar to Bats?

tomk:  Mad Hatter.  Bruce didn’t like it much better either.

jimmy:  Mad Hatter.  Right.  Maybe Bruce needs a different “paradise” than his parents surviving?

tomk:  Like one where he marries his lesbian cousin?

jimmy:  …we’ll keep spitballing ideas…

tomk:  Or Superman will continue to heat vision his enemies.

jimmy:  “Burn!”  That was badass though, c’mon.

tomk:  That was an Alan Moore line.

jimmy:  He script write good.

tomk:  That is the general consensus.

jimmy:  Did Bats bring Supes cash in the original story?

tomk:  That part I don’t recall.

jimmy:  That’s so Bruce though.

tomk:  I could reread the issue on DC Universe, but my recollection is Bruce is mostly talking to Jason because it’s Jason’s first trip to the Fortress of Solitude.

jimmy:  And then he stole the hubcabs off Krypto.

tomk:  Or the Supermobile.

jimmy:  That doesn’t exist.  Don’t be silly.

tomk:  Well, it has as many hubcaps as Krypto does.

jimmy:  True.

tomk:  And you don’t wanna know what Jason did to Spidey’s dune buggy.

jimmy:  Hopefully left it at the bottom of the Hudson.

tomk:  So, only Batman can have a car?

jimmy:  He’s really the only one that needs one.

tomk:  The current Ghost Rider might object.

jimmy:  Well, he’s not in the Justice League. Yet.

tomk:  Regardless, Mongul was being particularly awful this time.

jimmy:  Is he ever not?

tomk:  Well, he’s not usually so blatantly sexist.

jimmy:  He’s usually more passive aggressive sexist.

tomk:  Well, you can have a gold star for that if you think you deserve one.

jimmy:  Probably not.

tomk:  But hey, the Black Mercy…a plant Geoff Johns would write into Green Lantern stories, eventually revealed as a sentient plant that just tries to offer comfort for the dying and didn’t realize Mongul was using it as a weapon.

And then it joined the Green Lantern Corps.

jimmy:  I can see that.  Well, the not being evil part.  Not the Green Lantern Corps part.

tomk:  She was offered a Sinestro Corps ring as well since she could both inspire and overcome fear. She chose Green.

jimmy:  Once you go green, you never go mean.  Unless infected by yellow.  Or something.

tomk:  And still not the strangest member of the GLC.

jimmy:  Man, leave Guy Gardner alone already.  Geez.

tomk:  I may have been referring to another Alan Moore creation, Rot Lop Fan, a blind alien from a pitch black sector of space whose language did not have the words “green” or “lantern”.

He went by the F-Sharp Bell.

jimmy:  Ok, that may win.

tomk:  So, anything else to add here, Jimmy, or should we talk about why Mogo doesn’t socialize?

jimmy:  We are getting a bit silly.  I think it’s one of those cases where everything is solid and enjoyable and they don’t leave us much to pick on.

tomk:  True. Why can’t we get a flawed episode nobody liked?

Or we invite DC hater Jenny to the chat.

jimmy:  Unless it’s Wonder Woman.

tomk:  Yes, well, ready to move on to another episode without too many guest heroes?

jimmy:  Not going to live up to the “Unlimited” name that way.

tomk:  Well there might be one…

“Kid Stuff”

Mordred finally rebels against his mother Morgaine le Fey, and the only way to stop him will be for a group of Leaguers to make an unspeakable bargain…

jimmy:

tomk:  What?

jimmy:  What an odd episode.

tomk:  You seem…confused.

jimmy:  I guess I just found it a little too Nickelodeon centric.

tomk:  You mean seeing what certain Leaguers were like as children didn’t work for you?

jimmy:  It did not.  And I couldn’t figure out if they were their adult selves just in their kid bodies with all their powers and memories and experiences…or if they were reverted to themselves as kids…but with all their powers and memories and experiences.  I know that sounds like the same thing, but they clearly acted like kids.  Grizzled old Batman doesn’t suddenly become talkative and behave like a 10 year old simply because he is transformed into having a 10 year old’s body.  Have we learned nothing from Big, 18 Again, All of Me, Vice Versa, Wish Upon A Star, Freaky Friday or 13 Going on 30?

tomk:  Um, no?

jimmy:  Apparently not.

tomk:  I think the latter is correct. They had their memories, powers, and skills, but they were less mature. John was suddenly like a kid with ADD, Clark was naive, Diana was a bit of a brat (only child on her island after all), and Bruce was smarting a bit since his parents’ death would have been sooner.

jimmy:  Plus the school girl crush.

tomk:  That too.

You know, Unlimited did front load the more humorous episodes to the beginning.

jimmy:  And outside of the 1st episode (yes, I know, we are only on episode 3), there hasn’t been much outside of the regular JLA crew.  Except Flash, who’s gotten the screw job.

tomk:  I think there were scheduling issues with Michael Rosenbaum so Flash doesn’t get seen much right away, though they make up for it big time later.

And I promise you there are new heroes coming. This one had Baby Etrigan!

jimmy:  Meh.

tomk:  Not even a guest voice by Dakota Fanning will cheer an angry Jimmy.

jimmy:  She was too bossy.

According to Green Lantern.

tomk:  She was gonna tell.

jimmy:  Ok, I get that this was the whole point of the show and was supposed to be what made it cute and appealing, but I just found it too childish…for a cartoon…about super heroes…

tomk:  You haven’t been this cranky over immaturity on one of these shows since Baby-Doll.

jimmy:  I guess I need a certain level of maturity with my super hero shows.

I did grow up in the bleak 80’s and shoulder pad 90’s.

tomk:  Man, our Muppet Babies rewatch is gonna be rough.

jimmy:  lol

It’s all context.  I loved Muppet Babies!

tomk:  I see. You have expectations for these shows and hold them to a certain standard.

jimmy:  I mean, the show itself was fine, and maybe I need to take a step back and try to enjoy it for what it was, but it just didn’t work for me.

Something else that grinds my gears is the showing clips from the show throughout the opening credits.  Like, c’mon!  I’m literally sitting down to watch the show.  I don’t need to be “hooked in” or shown “spoilers”.

tomk:  They did a decent job of hiding the fact they were kids for this one. Plus, no sign of Etrigan.

jimmy:  I know, I know.  And that’s why I put “spoilers” in quotes.  But still, seems unnecessary.  And get off my lawn.

tomk:  Well, I guess it all comes down to one simple fact:  you hate children of all ages.

jimmy:  I guess it’s a good thing I never had kids.

tomk:  As far as you know.

jimmy:  As far as I know.

tomk:  The Moose may know things. Like how John Stewart used Kyle Rayner’s mask for eyewear.

jimmy:  I noticed that.  Superman thought it was cool.

tomk:  Superman was a bit of a farm boy.

jimmy:  If anything, the school girl crush thing kinda speaks to a sexual tension between Bats and Wonder Woman. Almost like a drunk lower inhibitions, saying what you shouldn’t have kinda thing.

tomk:  Kids have no filter.  You just know Adult Batman is always thinking how the others flying ahead doesn’t mean it’s a race.

jimmy:  Heh. That’s true.

tomk:  And you know Diana is always thinking she can just tell every villain’s mom when Cheetah is swinging claws at her again.

Oh, hey, Cheetah ain’t dead!

jimmy:  I’d like to see her try that.

And that’s good!

tomk:  Her reappearance is also cursed.

jimmy:  That’s bad.

tomk:  But you get your choice of Batman popsicles!

jimmy:  That’s good!  (And if those don’t exist, they should.)

tomk:  The popsicles all have pictures of Batbaby.

jimmy:  Can I go now?

tomk:  Ask the Moose.

The Moose may contain potassium benzoate.

That’s bad.

And that bit has been beaten into the ground.

Did you know Etrigan wears diapers?

jimmy:  I did not. And why was he a baby?

tomk:  For the cuteness?

jimmy:  Sounds about right.

tomk:  

jimmy:  Does he have baloney in his slacks?

tomk:  That would have smelled better.

jimmy:  Better than brimstone?  Probably.

tomk:   And yet, not strong enough for Superman to smell right away.

jimmy:  I don’t think you needed a super sense of smell for that.

tomk:  And yet…

You must have at least been pleased to see that Joffrey wannabe get what was coming to him in his last appearance.

jimmy:  That’s true. Though he wiped out all the adults on Earth(?), he still wasn’t as bad as Joffrey.

tomk:  And he didn’t actually kill anybody.  Not even himself despite his own best efforts.

jimmy:  And his mother wasn’t as evil.

tomk:  No.  She just wanted to hand the kingdom (so to speak) to an unstable blonde child while being cold and distant to everyone else.  That’s completely different from Cersi.

jimmy:  I didn’t say different, just less evil.

tomk:  Hmm.

Maybe you just dig chicks in masks.

jimmy:  Watson’s ideal chick in a mask:

tomk:  I think that’s my bit.  I may have to send some minor Batman foes that got past the Bat-Embargo after you.

jimmy:  I know I crossed the streams there, but was too good to pass up.

tomk:  Oh, you are right. Have a gold star and a masked woman’s phone number.

jimmy:  I will gladly take both of those thank you very much!

tomk:  Good thing for you the masked woman is the Ms. getting ready to go for groceries.

jimmy:  That’s the good thing?

tomk:  You need eggs and won’t be talking to some stranger.

jimmy:  Given the state of the world, probably a good idea.

tomk:  And hey, there were two lesser Batman baddies here on the form of Blockbuster and KGBeast.

jimmy:  So inconsequential they didn’t even qualify for the Bat-related embargo.

tomk:  Or get a line of dialogue. Only a crazy person would put one of them in a movie.

jimmy:  Heh.

tomk:  In other news, KGBeast was one of Lex Luthor’s goons in Batsoup.

jimmy:  Indeed.

tomk:  Well, I suppose you want something with less jokes and more new heroes.

jimmy:  Are the heroes adults?

tomk:  Physically.

jimmy:  Oh, we’re halfway there.

tomk:  You want new heroes or not?

jimmy:  Yes!

tomk:  You want new heroes or not?

NEXT TIME:  JImmy will finally get some new characters, but Tom isn’t sure these are the sorts of heroes he wanted.  Be back soon when the guys cover the episodes “Hawk and Dove,” “This Little Piggy,” and “Fearful Symmetry”

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