Season two of Justice League improved a bit on season one. The heroes didn’t go down like chumps, the bad guys hit harder, and sometimes people even died. It made for a stronger series, and now, Jimmy and Tom continue their chat with the episodes that cover the stories “Maid of Honor,” “Hearts and Minds,” and “A Better World.”
“Maid of Honor”
Wonder Woman bonds with a princess whose upcoming wedding could cause problems for the rest of the world!
jimmy: Weddings will do that.
tomk: Do what?
jimmy: Cause problems.
You know, when this and the next two stories were new, I actually thought they were referring somewhat current events and people. The next two were much more serious in my mind, but I nicknamed this one “Wonder Woman meets Paris Hilton”.
jimmy: I was trying to assign a real life person in my mind to Princess Cashmire. That one works as good as any.
tomk: A skinny blonde heiress, spoiled, who doesn’t seem very bright and is popular with the paparazzi. That’s Paris Hilton all right.
Heck, they meet in Paris!
jimmy: At the Hilton! (Ok, I don’t know about that last one.)
tomk: We can pretend.
tomk: And Diana goes clubbing!
While Batman goes bilingual!
jimmy: Which is more surprising?
tomk: Diana went clubbing without a club?
jimmy: Who needs a club when she has two registered weapons?
tomk: Her fists?
jimmy: Of course. What else would I be talking about?
tomk: Her earrings. They double as throwing stars.
jimmy: Or her diamonds as earplugs.
tomk: Maybe her heat vision.
jimmy: Maybe not that one.
tomk: Yeah. That power is clearly unregistered.
jimmy: I think I was more surprised by Diana not knowing Bruce was Batman. I’m just so used to them all knowing each other’s identities in most media.
tomk: She knew by the end.
jimmy: She “knew”.
tomk: Bruce isn’t good at playing dumb in front of a sometime goddess of truth.
jimmy: He’s apparently better as Bruce Wayne pretending not to be Batman, than as Batman pretending not to be Bruce Wayne.
tomk: Batman doesn’t pretend.
jimmy: He’s Batman.
tomk: He speaks your language, whatever it is.
jimmy: Apparently: It is revealed in this episode that Batman can speak fluent Kaznian. Other languages he can speak include Japanese (Batman: The Animated Series, “Day of the Samurai”) and Spanish (Justice League, “Secret Society”).
tomk: We haven’t gotten to “Secret Society” yet…
jimmy: Spoiler: Batman speaks Spanish.
tomk: Dang. That’s probably important to the plot.
Wait, I’ve seen all these before!
But hey, Vandal Savage. He apparently looks a lot like his grandfather. And his grandfather was a lot like Crossing the Desert, the Unblinking Eye, and the Wreck of the Hesperus.
jimmy: Silly Tom, that was all the same guy.
What is he? Some kind of immortal Neanderthal?
jimmy: Some kind. Yes.
tomk: I might have zoned out when he started talking about a time before the wheel. Seemed unnecessary.
jimmy: So, even if the meteor made him immortal, I don’t remember it saying it would make him more intelligent. No offense to Neanderthals.
tomk: Well, he had plenty of time to learn stuff.
jimmy: I know, but still. There’s only so smart you can get.
tomk: You just haven’t tried getting smarter over a few centuries.
tomk: I’m sure the Moose knows a thing or two. And just studying hard can teach you all kinds of things. How else would someone figure out how to make a mass driver?
jimmy: Or a cannon that when it barks it shoots asteroids at you.
tomk: Can it outrun the Flash?
tomk: Can Superman outrun the Flash?
jimmy: Not this episode. He was on vacation.
tomk: Good answer! You get a gold star!
jimmy: Can these gold stars be exchanged for goods and services?
tomk: Only at the Watchtower Gift Shop and Exchange.
jimmy: They probably have some cool Bat-merchandise.
tomk: And a pile of unsold J’onn J’onzz Coma Pillows.
tomk: Hey, three stories in a row where J’onn stayed conscious. You must be…used to it by now?
jimmy: I’ll start cutting him a break. But I’ll be keeping a close eye on him.
tomk: He’s a lot smoother now. Look how he dodges gunshots!
jimmy: When did J’onn debut in the comics?
tomk: Before Barry Allen.
But after the Golden Age.
Some say he’s the first Silver Age hero.
jimmy: So, long before Vision.
tomk: Well, Marvel did have a Golden Age hero by that name.
jimmy: I find they are essentially the same character, minus the shape shifting.
tomk: J’onn’s earliest stories are weird. His Martian form looked like a bald, green ape, and he mostly turned invisible in a human form and fought bad guys while invisible.
jimmy: As he should. If you could turn invisible, why not stay that way. We’ve discussed this with Batman Beyond.
tomk: In later stories, he accidentally inhaled a Martian gas used on Martian criminals, so he couldn’t use any of his other powers if he was invisible.
jimmy: Damn Martian gases!
tomk: The more he stuck around, the more he looked like a bald, green human. Oh, and once people knew he existed…they treated him like your standard DC hero that everybody liked.
That said…J’onn isn’t in this story very much. He, GL, and Flash only appear in Part 2. You’d think we’d have more to say about Wonder Woman, starting with…what the heck did she see in Princess Audrey?
jimmy: Well, Diana did say something to the effect of wanting to relax and get out more, so who better to paint the town with. And they were both princesses.
tomk: I dunno. That Wayne guy looked like he knew how to keep a low profile when he wanted to.
jimmy: Well, you know the old saying: sisters before misters.
tomk: Never heard that one before.
jimmy: I think I just made it up…
tomk: I see.
You feel clever now for that one?
tomk: Well, OK then. Have another gold star.
jimmy: Wahoo! Replica Batwing here I come!
tomk: At this rate, you won’t have to get a mere replica.
jimmy: We touched on Diana figuring out Bruce’s Secret, but it’s a typical super hero cliche where the civilian identity is in a foreign country and surprise! Batman too!
tomk: Yeah. Who knew Princess Audrey was Batman?
jimmy: That would certainly throw people off the scent.
tomk: She stinks?
jimmy: Maybe. They do do a lot of running around and jumping off tall buildings in a single bound.
tomk: And sometimes they go into space.
Cavemen put dangerous weapons out there.
tomk: And you thought cavemen couldn’t learn anything.
Ok, in all seriousness, there isn’t much to Diana’s plot here. We get a good item of Savage emerging from the rubble and all, but I am not sure I watch Justice League to see Wonder Woman go clubbing.
jimmy: Which was almost the entire first episode.
tomk: Except for Batman being awesome.
jimmy: And doing the Battusi.
tomk: Which is kinda awesome.
jimmy: At least he is doing it with Wonder Woman.
tomk: Of course he is. He’s Batman.
jimmy: Is he ever.
tomk: Well, this has been supremely silly. Then again, half of this story is supremely silly. It’s just not the kind of thing I think of Wonder Woman doing.
jimmy: Sometimes an Amazon just has to let her hair down.
tomk: Yeah, I can’t argue with that. Do you have anything else to add?
jimmy: Just one question, besides immortality, does Savage have any other powers? He seems to have the power to amount vast fortunes to get things like asteroid guns built and orbited.
tomk: He’s great at long-term planning. No joke. Some versions show he’s maybe a little stronger than a normal human, and he’s learned a lot of things. He’s more a plotter than a fighter.
jimmy: He’s been plotting this since WWII.
tomk: Before that too, probably.
Like, maybe the 20s.
jimmy: Damn. He’s good.
tomk: Yes. 20 AD.
tomk: Anything else, or are you up for a more serious story that doesn’t feature any of the a Big Three?
jimmy: Well, that’s conflicting. No Big Three? But more serious? Hmmm…
tomk: Well, that’s what’s next. It also features one of the oldest Justice League villains.
jimmy: Vandal Savage?
tomk: No. He was originally a Justice Society villain.
This bad guy was from the very first issue of the first Justice League series (as opposed to Starro who fought the League in its first appearance in the Brave and the Bold anthology series).
“Hearts and Minds”
John Stewart rushes off to save a Green Lantern he has a past with, but even with help, can he, the League, or the Corps overcome the night of Despero?
jimmy: I guess we better start with a Despero history lesson.
tomk: When the Justice League got their own title, he was their first villain.
He looked very different but was on the fairly famous first cover.
Later, he mutated into the bigger, physically stronger form we recognize today, but he always had the telepathic third eye.
Cartoons tend to use a different color purple. But he even joined a League team when a robotic League ally took over his body.
jimmy: Wow, that was a whole lot of stuff I never knew before.
tomk: And that’s just the short version.
This Despero is a bit more unique.
Bruce Timm is on-record for saying this story was supposed to be about religious extremism.
Quite frankly, when I saw it when it was new, I thought Despero was a stand-in for Ossama bin Ladin.
jimmy: I can see that.
tomk: Well, in cartoon form, he’s tall, bearded, has bad skin, and uses a religion from a desert region as a reason to send out suicide bombers to force conversions.
jimmy: And they’re both lucky Batman wasn’t around. Because Batman.
tomk: I don’t mess with Batman and neither should you is the unofficial motto of the League.
jimmy: He was probably off dancing with Wonder Woman.
tomk: And Superman?
tomk: That game…
Well, now you know about Despero.
A major League villain from decades worth of comics…that never reappears in the DCAU.
jimmy: He can’t be used much in the comics either as I don’t know much about him, though my DC-Fu is weak.
tomk: He actually gets around quite a bit. Probably not since the New 52, but I have seen him many times.
jimmy: I must just miss him. Like Snuffleupagus.
tomk: Or Watson’s twin brother Goodie Will.
jimmy: And we finally met a girl not immediately turned off by Flash hitting on her.
tomk: If you mean John’s landlady, then yes.
tomk: They should have taken her on the mission. She swings a mean broom.
jimmy: And would have made Despero pay his rent.
tomk: Kalindor’s evicting him is what started all that.
jimmy: See, if she was there this all could have been avoided.
tomk: Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, we had to get John, J’onn, Hawkgirl, Flash, and some spare Green Lanterns there to see to things.
And hey, J’onn stayed conscious again!
jimmy: Season two upgrades baby!
tomk: Jimmy seems happier in season two.
jimmy: So do John and Superman.
tomk: J’onn, however, misses nap time.
jimmy: Everyone enjoys a good nap.
tomk: I’m surprised you didn’t ask for the history of Katma Tui.
jimmy: Lay it on me!
tomk: This one is shorter.
In the comics, she isn’t John’s trainer. Kilowog is the Corps’ trainer.
She’s actually John’s wife until a crazy version of Star Sapphire murders her.
jimmy: I didn’t know that. They obviously have a history here. And not just training…if you know what I’m saying…
tomk: There are many different types of training.
jimmy: Hawkgirl is pretty obvious about wanting to train John too.
tomk: Despero wants to train everybody. But he won’t wear a pair of sunglasses without a long back alley brawl.
jimmy: He knows he’d still have one eye exposed to dangerous UV rays.
tomk: Until John pops him one in the third eye.
jimmy: Let’s talk a bit about the Lantern rings. I know it can be corny to see a Lantern making a giant fist or like an excavator to dig a hole or whatever, but I find the rings just come off as lame here. They seemed to basically be good for making shields and cutting through rocks.
tomk: Well, Timm and Co. figured that constructs were a bit…silly for someone like John Stewart. The guy was a Marine. He’s direct. It seems the rest of the Corps follows that line of reasoning.
jimmy: I get the reasoning, but it’s not much fun. WWKRD?
tomk: I dunno. He apparently was something of a poor recruit according to Katma.
jimmy: Good enough to get name dropped at least twice.
tomk: Well, continuity! He was the first we saw in these cartoons!
jimmy: Poor old Hal Jordan can’t get a break.
tomk: I’m just gonna recommend waiting on Hal.
tomk: Until then, we have John.
Plus Hawkgirl and the Flash, who don’t seem to have other names.
jimmy: They really haven’t dug too deeply into the Flash. Even with Hawkgirl we got some background about where she is from and how she got there.
tomk: What’s to know? He runs fast, he acts fast, and he doesn’t really think fast.
And when there’s a woman nearby, he can really move fast.
jimmy: Which hasn’t worked out too well for him this far.
tomk: Oh, like you’d do better in red tights.
jimmy: In red tights? Well, no.
tomk: A different color then?
jimmy: Now that would be telling.
tomk: Then don’t. But if you somehow change into a small tree, I will suspect your color is Despero Purple.
jimmy: I’ve managed to go this long without turning into a tree. Small or otherwise.
tomk: Well, good for you. You probably didn’t even have to speak for a tree like J’onn “The Lorax” J’onzz.
jimmy: Well, that I’ve done. But J’onn did it better.
tomk: Echoey voice and a bright glow will do that.
jimmy: It’s a good thing that J’onn was there. Funny how that happens.
tomk: J’onn’s always there. He has no where else to go.
jimmy: He should go golfing with Superman.
tomk: Maybe next time.
jimmy: There was quite a bit of death this episode.
tomk: Two Lanterns vaporized before the opening credits!
tomk: Season two strikes again!
jimmy: Season Two: No Mercy…except for those 2 episodes Mercy was in...but that’s it!
tomk: Well, we know who the different members of the League are, so they could expand their characters.
And when a vacancy opens up, John’s landlady can take her place with the world’s greatest Superfriends.
jimmy: She’ll keep those satellite occupants in line.
tomk: Well, this is all very silly. Did you have more to say on this one?
jimmy: Not really. A decent set of episodes that show the team can survive without the Big 3.
tomk: True. Would you like an episode that shows what the Flash brings to the table?
jimmy: It’s just 44 minutes of him flirting and getting shot down I’m guessing?
tomk: Oh no. Nothing like that.
I don’t think he flirts with anyone this time.
jimmy: Then I am interested!
tomk: Off we go then.
“A Better World”
Who, or what, are the Justice Lords?
jimmy, after he couldn’t get a meme to post to the chat: For some reason it won’t let me post the meme I wanted to, but trust me, it was hilarious.
jimmy: Close enough.
tomk: Well, the Justice Lords.
Proof Batman can beat anybody. Even himself.
jimmy: He beat him by not doing anything.
tomk: We saw Batman keep Lex Luthor’s entire Injustice Gang busy with just his mouth.
jimmy: Let’s hope the media outlets don’t run with that quote out of context.
tomk: Media outlets running things out of context? Never!
jimmy: Speaking of out of context, was there any doubt in your mind the first time you saw this that there was something not quite right during the cold open?
tomk: What, before Superman vaporized Luthor?
jimmy: Well, at that point it just seemed like it could be in the future. But yeah, once Luthor was killed, you knew this wasn’t our Superman. And I guess he got smarter about how he handled things as it seemed from that point on he preferred lobotomies.
tomk: Sometimes on wood if you saw the Ventriloquist at Arkham and Scarface had the burn marks.
jimmy: Hah, I noticed that.
tomk: And even lobotomized, the Joker is a jerk.
jimmy: He was just doing his job.
tomk: Just following orders, you say?
jimmy: Orders that J’onn should have probed a little deeper for besides just the password.
tomk: Look, he got knocked out again for the first time in ages. Some things are bound to be lost in translation.
jimmy: Seeing Doomsday was a treat, though him talking was odd…and the lobotomy was disturbing.
tomk: He had Michael Jai White’s voice. He was Spawn. Perhaps it was supposed to be disturbing.
jimmy: Been a long time since I watched that Spawn cartoon.
tomk: He was live action Spawn.
Keith David was animated Spawn. And Despero.
jimmy: Whoops. Right. Long time since that too.
tomk: White was also Bronze Tiger on Arrow.
jimmy: If you say so.
tomk: His hero pedigree is strong.
Besides , the first time I saw these two episodes, I had two “Holy crap that’s cool!” moments. Doomsday’s arrival was one. Lex saying it wasn’t the League at the end of part one was the other.
jimmy: Doomsday was better. I thought Lex’s League comment was a bit of a weak cliffhanger.
tomk: Really? Five seconds of TV and he realizes what everyone else should have?
jimmy: I get it. I just didn’t see it as much of a hook.
tomk: I was perhaps easier to impress 15+ years ago.
jimmy: You still get distracted by dogs with puffy tails.
tomk: That’s Ryan.
jimmy: Blue cars?
jimmy: There it is.
tomk: I think you tricked me.
Huh. I guess not.
jimmy: We can both agree Doomsday was pretty cool.
tomk: True. You get a gold star for that reconciliation.
jimmy: I need to start counting these.
tomk: They’re better than Bitcoin.
jimmy: What did you think of the Justice Lords costumes?
tomk: I liked ’em. You?
jimmy: I did. Superman’s in particular.
tomk: He held Lois Lane hostage for hostile dating purposes.
Most of the others went for shorter, more military-style haircuts.
jimmy: She was lucky she wasn’t Lois Lobotimized.
tomk: That’s clever. You just come up with that yourself?
jimmy: I did!
tomk: Good for you. You get a…wait, what happened to my gold stars?
jimmy: Oh no!
tomk: Man, there are so many problems in the Justice Lords universe…
A police state can’t solve all of ’em!
jimmy: And all because the Flash died by reasons.
tomk: Luthor is a reason.
jimmy: Luthor. No wonder Superman fried him.
tomk: Wouldn’t you?
jimmy: I’m a Leaguer not a Lord, Tom.
tomk: You’re not Captain Canuck? Or Moose-Man?
I remembered the hyphen!
jimmy: Heh. And if I was, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.
So, would it surprise you much that this storyline was one of the most important to come out for long term plots?
jimmy: What do you mean? Moving forward?
We never see the Lords again, and they seem to be stand ins for the Crime Syndicate, but their effect is felt for a while.
jimmy: That’s intriguing that there are repercussions, but they don’t subsequently appear.
tomk: A place where the League went bad? A story that ends with a pardoned Luthor looking for a way to maybe repeat that?
jimmy: And he does give the sly “Luthor For President” wink at the end. Imagine if he runs and wins? He’d be like the 2nd worst President ever.
tomk: What do you mean? Most people can only suspect the president is a supervillain. With Luthor, we’d know for certain.
jimmy: What is the common knowledge of Lex’s super villain-y? Those reporters didn’t seem overly concerned and asked if he was going back to running LexCorp. Mercy might have a thought or two about that.
tomk: Good thing he isn’t interested in business anymore. And he still needed a pardon.
jimmy: Typical comic book trope. Help save the world once, all past attempts to destroy/take over the world forgiven.
tomk: He worked with Superman, who apparently can give out pardons now.
jimmy: President Superman…I like it!
tomk: It’s been done.
jimmy: Sure, Tom. Sure. What’s next? Captain America for President?
tomk: That would be silly.
jimmy: How could Superman even be President? He wasn’t born in America.
tomk: Well, I did read that annual, and back then, Superman wasn’t a baby launched into space in a rocket. He was actually blasted into space in a Kryptonian birthing matrix and was really born in Kansas.
Unless you mean the Obama Superman Grant Morrison created. He won in his secret identity and people didn’t know he was also Superman.
jimmy: I meant the former. I don’t think I’ve actually heard that spin on his origin before.
tomk: That was from the first ten years or so post-Crisis.
jimmy: I read that first Byrne Man of Steel mini…but must have forgotten/blocked that out.
tomk: It was mentioned frequently enough in the early 90s.
jimmy: I never read much Superman beyond that mini and then Death/Return.
tomk: Well, I did starting around Superman’s engagement to Lois Lane.
So yes, that happened.
But this episode did show a Superman talking tough to an unnamed president who looked a bit like George W Bush…
jimmy: Who was President when this aired? Often the current President is reflected in TV and movies of the time.
jimmy: That’s what I assumed.
tomk: And I always felt like the episode was something of a commentary to America’s reaction to 9/11.
jimmy: Do tell.
tomk: I think I just did.
But the League overreacted to the death of the Flash, became the Justice Lords, and everything became about security over freedom.
The costume modifications were a lot more militaristic.
jimmy: Like Freedom Fries?
Or locking someone up for complaining about a restaurant bill.
jimmy: I had to send that soup back 3 times!
tomk: Enjoy your stay at the, er, hospital.
jimmy: It is a very real think piece though. Is Batman better than the Joker for not killing him…but letting him live and escape from Arkham for 75 years, usually murdering innocents each time?
tomk: Well, maybe this Joker won’t be returning to bug Terry McGinnis.
jimmy: He’ll probably be working in the school cafeteria and ratting Terry our for taking too many tater tots.
tomk: Damn tots.
Also known as Freedom Tots.
While I did enjoy these episodes, they still left a bit of a “another alternate universe where the Justice League turns bad” aftertaste.
tomk: Well, this was the closest the main series came to the Crime Syndicate.
Though there was a plan to do an actual Crime Syndicate story that came out a bit differently than intended.
jimmy: Those guys are more pure evil that the Justice Lords who are more, morally tilted.
tomk: The Lords keep people safe from, um, anti-cop protesters.
That, uh, isn’t more relevant right now.
jimmy: Not topical at all.
tomk: Nope. But hey, Hawkgirl in the other world knows John sleeps better now.
jimmy: How does she know that?
tomk: Everybody spies on everybody else. Except for Batman. No one spies on Batman.
jimmy: Except another Batman.
tomk: Well duh.
Speaking of Batman, his security code is 91939. Do you suppose his first appearance was in September of 1939?
jimmy: NIIIICE catch! I didn’t even notice that.
tomk: I don’t know about the September part, but the 1939 tracks.
The Batcave fight was interesting as it alternated shots between the Batman that wasn’t talking. I half thought it was a production issue at first (as I noticed several shots earlier where it looked like they had changed the script post animation).
tomk: How else can we see how different arguments affect different Batmans? Batmen? Bats-who-are-Men?
jimmy: Until Original Recipe Batman surrenders after he learns both their mothers were named Martha.
tomk: What an unbelievable coincidence.
jimmy: I think it was the only name women of the 1930’s were allowed to have.
tomk: That’s why old movies are so hard to follow.
jimmy: Heh. That and the fast talking and old timey bikes.
tomk: You have a problem with old timey bikes?
Not what I was looking for, but lol.
tomk: Well, some things work well fast. Like the Flash speeding his heart up.
jimmy: Now, that was smart. Flash finally stepping up in this episode.
tomk: Holding off Lord Superman by himself was also fairly impressive.
jimmy: It was definitely his story to shine. Making up for his deceased counterpart.
tomk: It’s like someone finally realized what superspeed can do.
jimmy: Besides flirting.
tomk: He’s the guy who keeps the others from going too far.
But tell me, Jimmy, how would you feel if I told you the next one also features the Flash prominently, but this time he actually has to save the day himself?
jimmy: I’d call you a big fat stinking LIAR!
tomk: Well, did you have anything to add about the Lords?
Lex made and kept a deal with Superman to defeat a more dangerous version of Superman. The Flash beat a Batman, and the Joker is still a weasel.
Plus, old timey bikes.
jimmy: Heh. I’m sure Lex’s “a deal is a deal” has an ulterior motive.
tomk: He kept that deal. He never said he wouldn’t do more bad things in the future.
jimmy: Indeed he did not.
tomk: Besides, we also see more John/Hawkgirl…stuff.
jimmy: Those two are turning into Moonlighting.
tomk: No, only Batman fought a wolfman.
jimmy: Batman. He’ll fight anyone.
Shall we see who else the Flash will fight?
tomk: Would you believe it’s public opinion?
jimmy: That will be an interesting fight then.
tomk: Well, that’s only part of it.
NEXT TIME: Tom and Jimmy will be back soon for some more Justice League talk with the episodes “Eclipsed,” “The Terror Beyond,” and “Secret Society”.