Looks like it’s time, once again, for another installment of Jimmy and Tom’s cartoon chat. This time around, they’re looking into the Justice League episodes “Eclipsed,” “The Terror Beyond,” and “Secret Society”.
An ancient gemstone surfaces, one that could destroy the human race!
jimmy: Eclipso knew better than to start his shenanigans while Batman was in town.
tomk: And that wasn’t even close to the comic book Eclipso.
jimmy: Yeah, I don’t know a lot about Eclipso, but I figured that with the snake people, etc.
tomk: Yeah, no snake people.
Eclipso is the rare DC villain to get his own series and was the star of a Silver Age feature where scientist Bruce Gordon turned into Eclipso during every eclipse.
Like those were common.
jimmy: I always think of this cover with an actual plastic jewel stuck in the middle of it. Aww, the 90’s.
tomk: Eclipso has a wide range of powers connected to his black diamond. And his backstory from the 90s would take a while so I will just add he was the Wrath of God before the Spectre but didn’t know when to quit so God trapped him inside the diamond. Human greed split it into 100 smaller gems but anyone holding one while angry would either conjure Eclipso or more likely be possessed by him until exposed to sunlight.
jimmy: Like poor Jean Loring.
tomk: Among others, yes.
jimmy: I’m glad Superman showed up in part two, because I was all ready with a “you know who would be useful against Evil Wonder Woman?” comment.
tomk: For all the good it did.
tomk: Instead, the Flash had to save the day without his van.
jimmy: Flash needing an agent, doing commercials, having a van, all seemed weird. But, I guess the Justice League doesn’t get paid, so…
tomk: And he likes attention.
jimmy: Well, that too.
tomk: Plus, it fits the character. He of all people doesn’t need a van but he doesn’t think that stuff through.
jimmy: Well, I think he needed the van for reasons other than driving around…
tomk: And he made that pretty clear.
He wants to be a hard-traveling hero with John Stewart and find the real America.
Actually, it was probably a good thing for the snake people Batman wasn’t there. When DC did its Eclipso annuals, Batman didn’t get directly involved. Instead, the three Batman-related annuals (Detective Comics, Robin, and Batman) had a separate story running where Batman was searching for the Joker in Gotham and Eclipso gems would get involved at various times. In the end, Joker got taken over, and since Eclipso’s first action is to take out the target of his new host’s anger and can’t do anything else until that happens, and Batman realized the only way to stop the Joker was hold a gem, get mad at the Joker, and let Eclipso take him over, realizing correctly the two wouldn’t be able to stop each before the sun rose, and when that happened, Eclipso was banished and Batman easily knocked out the Joker. And then he didn’t get involved in the story again.
jimmy: Batman. Is there anything he can’t do?
tomk: Well, last story showed he can even defeat himself so, no, there is nothing he can’t do.
jimmy: I knew it!
tomk: As such, the only way the bad guys can stand a chance is if he’s not there.
jimmy: And to make sure Flash can’t call him.
tomk: Well, we’ve spent more of this chat discussing Batman instead of a character who actually appears in the episode, so what does that tell you?
jimmy: That Batman is awesome?
tomk: Well, yes. Except when he’s laughing. Then he’s terrifying.
But the Flash made some commercials, looked dumb on a talk show, and then saved the day with a really bright light and a space run.
jimmy: That space run made me think of his Cosmic Treadmill.
tomk: Which I don’t think ever appears on the show.
jimmy: That’s probably for the best. For the Justice League’s sake.
tomk: Why? You think this Flash would be irresponsible with time travel?
jimmy: It’s been known to happen.
tomk: That’s a rather flashy point to make.
tomk: Ok, but he still saved the day when long dead snake people possessed three aliens, a space cop who made a construct, and a sometime demigod and tried to wipe out the human race.
jimmy: So, he’s not completely useless.
And a weakness to bright light almost seems as lame as a weakness to yellow.
At least possessed GL made constructs.
tomk: I suppose next you’ll complain about J’onn’s fire weakness?
jimmy: That crossed my mind too as I wrote that (and Venom’s plethora of weaknesses) but maybe I’m more forgiving of those because they would affect me as well.
That said, the bright light kinda makes sense to combat an eclipse.
tomk: And this isn’t Eclipso. So, really, it’s magic.
jimmy: Yeah, they never really say it’s Eclipso do they? More “inspired by” than anything. Though the guy in the costume is pretty close.
tomk: And that’s the closest they get. It’s a loose interpretation. Just as loose as the comic book version of G Gordon Godfrey.
jimmy: I don’t know a lot about Godfrey, but didn’t even make that connection.
tomk: This is the only version I have ever seen where he wasn’t one if Darkseid’s New God minions also known as Glorious Godfrey.
And when he appeared in season two of Young Justice, he was voiced by Tim Curry.
jimmy: Tim Curry!
tomk: The very same.
But we know who the real star of this episode was: Mohir. Sure to start a Justice League of old timers with John’s broom-welding landlady.
jimmy: I did find Mohir’s voice didn’t quite fit. But that might just be me.
tomk: It is kinda weird. Like the actor did a Looney Toons-style Peter Lorre impression without making the character look like a Looney Toons style Peter Lorre caricature.
jimmy: Yeah, it just seemed out of place.
tomk: But he got commercial acting work later, so he did better than Godfrey.
jimmy: That was a funny bit, but made zero sense.
tomk: You wouldn’t buy a hemorrhoid cream from the man who protects us from dead snake people?
jimmy: Well, when you put it that way…
tomk: And with the diamond destroyed, Mohir needed another line of work.
jimmy: It also doesn’t say much for The Flash’s agent.
tomk: He got a man with Mohir’s teeth and hair a commercial. That agent is a goddam genius.
jimmy: …I guess then, it doesn’t say much for The Flash.
tomk: He helped Mohir get a job! Plus, you know, he saved the world almost by himself.
jimmy: Is this Tom or known Flash lover Watson?
tomk: It’s still Tom. Which is not totally something Watson would say.
jimmy: I knew it was you!
tomk: Yes. It’s Halbrook.
jimmy: So, completely changing the topic, one thing I noticed, especially at the end of part 1, they show Flash all blurry, using his super speed…but GL and WW are flying right alongside him at the same speed without breaking a sweat.
tomk: You try running that fast without blurring.
jimmy: I’ll be back in a jiffy!
jimmy: pant pant ok pant I’m back. You’re right. pant Things are definitely blurry now.
tomk: Sit down and rest for a bit. We don’t want you getting dehydrated.
jimmy: Good plan.
tomk: Flash has to move more muscles to hit those speeds. The other two just fly.
jimmy: Are you saying they’re lazy?
tomk: Well, I didn’t think so before, but here we are.
jimmy: Anything else before you bring the wraith of the whole Justice League down on us?
tomk: I have a clear conscience. But no.
Say, would you like an episode that, for the first time, does not have the Martian Manhunter?
jimmy: Really? He’s been in every one?
tomk: So far.
You didn’t notice because you were taking a drink every time he fell unconscious.
jimmy: And then I was unconscious.
But yes, we have no J’onn in the next one. No Batman either. I think the bad guys learned their lesson.
Hmm. That Animal House gif is kinda depressing since I just realized both the actors in it are dead.
jimmy: It was 42 years ago.
Well, now that I am bummed, ready to move on?
jimmy: No MM and no Batman will cheer you up.
tomk: No beer and no TV make Tom something something,
jimmy: Go crazy?
tomk: Nah. I don’t drink.
jimmy: Go slightly agitated?
tomk: Don’t mind if I do!
“The Terror Beyond”
Aquaman, Dr. Fate, and Solomon Grundy are up to something! Can the League find out what brought such an odd group together?
jimmy: Watching part two was like watching an episode of the 1960’s Spider-Man from the Ralph Bakshi years.
tomk: You mean you kept seeing Aquaman swinging along the same cityscapes as he hurried to the rescue?
jimmy: Not quite…but quite a few creatures that made me think I’d be better off watching after dropping some acid. Or that the creators did beforehand.
tomk: Or they read some Lovecraft.
jimmy: It was disturbing either way.
tomk: Why? Because the head monster had Rob Zombie’s voice?
jimmy: Old snake face was definitely not more human than human.
tomk: Grundy did some brain surgery, too.
jimmy: And then died. And someone was kind enough to get him a tombstone.
tomk: Probably Hawkgirl.
She bonded with him.
jimmy: They both liked to smash.
tomk: Yeah, plus we got the odd team of Fate, Aquaman, and Grundy.
jimmy: That was…very odd indeed.
Speaking of Grundy, did this origin have any comic roots?
tomk: It’s pretty close to that.
And you wanted to know why a superstrong zombie wanted money before.
jimmy: Huh. I always figured he was just more freak of nature than almost cliched anti-hero.
tomk: Well, here’s the thing…this episode (and another later) is a tribute to the Marvel team the Defenders.
Specifically, Hulk, Namor, and Dr. Strange.
So, a Grundy who becomes an anti-hero fits that.
jimmy: Can definitely see that.
tomk: Hawkgirl might be there for Valkyrie.
jimmy: Good call.
Yeah, Grundy was very Hulk-like this episode. Even had a General Ross type and the army trying to take Grundy down.
tomk: Aquaman was extra grumpy too.
And yes, when they do another Defenders episode, we will see a Silver Surfer stand-in.
jimmy: Lobo, I guess.
tomk: Not quite. But wait and see.
jimmy: I did get a Defenders vibe from the episode.
tomk: So, maybe that Spider-Man thing was more deliberate than you thought!
jimmy: Could be. At least the episode didn’t use recycled Rocket Robin footage.
tomk: It could have used some of J Jonah Jameson. He makes everything better.
tomk: But that’s neither here nor there. Sometimes you need to make an alliance with a Lord of Order, a petrified wood zombie, and the king of Atlantis to defeat a Thanagarian demon god.
jimmy: That last one was a bit of an odd, out of nowhere connection.
tomk: Demons travel.
jimmy: Well, in their dimension, distance is quite different.
tomk: Up is down! Left is sideways! Inside loops around to outside! And everybody is constantly twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.
tomk: I feel dizzy.
jimmy: I know Hawkgirl’s comic origins are confusing, but is this connection to Snake Face something new?
tomk: I think so. She gave her real name too.
jimmy: It’s subtle, but I feel like they are building towards a Thanagarian storyline.
Then again, longtime DC readers would tell you she used her married name.
jimmy: So maybe there’s a Hawk_man_…
tomk: Or Hawkboy!
jimmy: That would make more sense.
tomk: Like how Superman took out two thirds of the Faux Defenders?
jimmy: Well, he is Superman and we know that Season Two Supes has been eating his Wheaties.
tomk: Wonder Woman, meanwhile, needs to learn how to hold her breath longer. Like, maybe indefinitely.
jimmy: Ha. Yeah, I noticed that too. The instant the fight went in the water she was out of there.
tomk: That’s one way to show Aquaman’s strengths.
jimmy: It’s funny how often those two end up at odds. Made me think of Flashpoint.
tomk: I dunno. Sometimes they end up as a backup to the World’s Finest pair when they are pulling a Trinity.
Heck, Mark Waid’s JLA run had the Queen of Fables hit Diana with a Sleeping Beauty curse. Since the only way to wake her was a kiss from a handsome prince, Aquaman did it.
jimmy: It’s only a kiss.
tomk: It got a full page spread drawn by Bryan Hitch.
jimmy: Rather sensual for one of the parties being asleep.
tomk: And the other possibly married.
jimmy: Oh those wacky royal types.
tomk: He did scare off Lovecraftian hordes by himself.
jimmy: Aquaman can be formidable. Too bad he’s such a jerk.
tomk: You just don’t like Underwater Conan.
jimmy: I don’t need to hear the lamentations of the Sea Monkeys.
I dunno. That Sea Monkey looks pretty happy.
tomk: But this was an episode where Solomon Grundy saved the day by performing brain surgery.
jimmy: Proving, contrary to popular belief, it’s not hard.
tomk: Well, only if you need a sure hand and not just smashing a giant brain.
jimmy: Grundy smash!
tomk: Well, he died to save the universe.
jimmy: That he did. Who’da thunk that would be his story arc?
tomk: Exactly. Because death is always permanent for Solomon Grundy.
jimmy: But when he gets resurrected, it will be as Solomon Gruesday.
tomk: Spend a long time thinking up that one?
jimmy: Not really. 🙂
tomk: Kinda showed.
jimmy: Oh. Burn.
tomk: You get a bronze star for effort. Collect a few hundred of them for a gold star.
jimmy: Like Mario!
Well, you also got an answer to something you wondered a while back, namely why Grundy would care about money.
jimmy: Yeah. I really didn’t know much about Grundy. I think the first time I heard of him was in Superman’s Song by Crash Test Dummies.
tomk: He started off as a Golden Age Green Lantern for, then somehow became one of Batman’s. But the first time I saw him was Challenge of the Superfriends.
Apparently, here he just likes money.
Well, this is supremely silly. Anything else to add here, Jimmy?
jimmy: Not really. Good catch on the Defenders homage, I didn’t quite pick up on that outside of Grundy being very Hulk-like.
tomk: I got it from somewhere else. But yes.
Well, how about another villain team with a very effective plan to use on the League?
jimmy: I love it when an effective plan comes together.
tomk: Then let’s see how that goes.
A group of villains have a new plan to take on the League…by letting the League do most of the work themselves!
jimmy: A stadium full of civilians and not one of the Society uses them in any way against the League.
tomk: They were there to watch the League die. Even the halftime singer, who was not the same singer from that Firefly episode of Batman’s show, seemed to get away. Grodd’s not a savage! He’s a simian supremacist.
jimmy: Grodd maybe. But you don’t think Killer Frost would wipe out an entire section as a distraction?
tomk: Grodd kept her frozen ass in line. Somehow. Trust falls apparently keep the psychotics in line. Who knew?
Should I be concerned your first thought on this episode was “Why didn’t the bad guys take hostages?”
jimmy: Umm…no? But really…c’mon. Here’s another thought…why didn’t the stadium full of people…get the hell out of there when the super powered teams started fighting?
tomk: It was the best halftime show ever.
jimmy: That’s not hard to do.
tomk: What? You’d rather see Batman smack an ape around than Lady Gaga?
I’d rather see Batman smack Lady Gaga around.
tomk: That sounds…I have no words.
jimmy: Hey. You asked.
You get a gold star for honesty.
jimmy: I’m back, baby!
tomk: You left?
jimmy: I’ve been hiding from Watson after stealing the “H” off his car bonnet.
tomk: What a specific crime.
I thought you were worried a telepathic gorilla would force you to express opinions that you keep secret due to good manners and social norms.
jimmy: Nah. I’m Canadian.
It sure made Superman a super jerk though.
tomk: HOW DARE YOU RUB THAT IN!
jimmy: Easy there, young fella.
The scariest thing about Grodd’s mental manipulation…it made Batman smile.
tomk: And captured.
jimmy: All part of the plan. wink
tomk: To let J’onn free everyone?
jimmy: Exactly. Mudface isn’t the only shapeshifter around.
tomk: Yes, I hope you enjoyed the last appearance of Clayface.
jimmy: Oh yeah?
Besides, they did get the same voice actors for Sinestro and Parasite back.
jimmy: Getting voice actors back probably isn’t that hard. They can record their part in like 20 minutes over the phone.
tomk: True, but it is a nice attention to detail. Just ask Tim Daly.
jimmy: I’m sure that was his choice. Even the main characters can probably bang out an episode in a few hours.
tomk: Maybe. Might depend on the voice direction.
jimmy: No doubt. But, to your point, yes, nice attention to detail.
tomk: I mean, they did recast a few characters like Superman, Aquaman, and, um, Luminous.
jimmy: That was the most obvious and heartbreaking one.
tomk: Still, this was a very character-based story. Grodd’s plan worked as well as it did because the Leaguers said what they really feel. Flash is tired of being treated like an idiot. Batman hates groups. Superman thinks he’s kinda better than the others. J’onn could quit and walk away without too much trouble if he had to. And John Stewart, well, he seems to be the most centered of the bunch.
jimmy: All legit feelings really.
tomk: Superman’s superiority complex is legit?
jimmy: I’m sure at some level.
tomk: Season two Superman can say that. Season one, not so much.
Say, you should be impressed. J’onn was the only one NOT to get knocked out.
jimmy: He’s come a long way.
tomk: He didn’t get plicked through the goalposts, too.
jimmy: Or play faked for the extra point.
tomk: Grodd did score some points…in the same way the ball always scores points.
jimmy: By letting the other team implode?
tomk: Clayface exploded, not imploded.
jimmy: Well, I meant more the JL infighting, but yes, you’re right.
tomk: That said, I rather liked this story. Grodd’s plan was better than Luthor’s since Grodd didn’t require paying people for loyalty. He made other offers.
jimmy: It was good. And the mind control was subtlety done. You could easily see the JL fracturing organically along these lines.
tomk: And that was the point. Grodd didn’t give them ideas they didn’t already have.
jimmy: Exactly. Like I said. You could even have the episodes without the Grodd “mind control” being mentioned. But I guess they wanted to explain away some degree of the infighting and jerkiness that mostly hasn’t been on display before.
tomk: And the ending didn’t make the problems go away.
jimmy: No. Though I didn’t really like the ending. I mean, I guess it works and doesn’t tie everything up in a nice little bow, but it’s like, “So what do we do now?” “Apologize and move on I guess.” Walk away. The end.
tomk: The last dialogue is a bit rough. But really, what else can they do? They are adults.
jimmy: Fair enough. I bet this never gets mentioned again though.
tomk: Well…not really. They moved on.
jimmy: Except Batman. He still hates groups.
tomk: Yeah, but everyone knew that already.
jimmy: Yeah, he prefers to endanger the lives of teenagers.
tomk: To be fair, they also endanger his.
jimmy: Damn kids!
tomk: Almost as bad as taking apes!
jimmy: Almost. As long as they’re not on horseback with machine guns.
tomk: That makes them awesome. Grodd is too big for a horse.
jimmy: Is this the last we see of the rest of these villains?
tomk: Parasite and Clayface yes. Probably Shade. The others? No.
jimmy: Too bad. Two of the better villains.
tomk: Yes, but Giganta is rather awesome in her own right. She’s both huge and dainty at the same time.
jimmy: Though you don’t want to catch her falling off a cliff.
tomk: Trust falls help when it isn’t someone who is heavier than they look.
jimmy: Seems like a funny exercise to get these villains to do, though was good comic relief.
tomk: This was a funny one in places. Superman knocking Grodd through the goalposts still makes me laugh. The set up, Grodd’s gloating changing as he sees Superman raise a hand, the crowd cheering…
jimmy: Yeah, that was good.
tomk: And Grodd was smarter than Luthor for the planning. Luthor just hires a bunch of guys to attack the League. Grodd recruited guys who didn’t care about money and let the Leaguers attack each other.
jimmy: Lex is dumber than an ape.
tomk: Well, to be fair, it is a very smart ape.
jimmy: Who stole my picinic basket. Wait, that wasn’t an ape.
tomk: No, the ape made everyone say what they really think. No one noticed a difference with Watson.
jimmy: And it made Ryan admit that he’s just trolling by saying he loves Krull. Because. C’mon. We all know that can’t be true.
tomk: Yeah. Well, that technique doesn’t work as well on every group.
jimmy: Especially when only 3 of our group are super powered.
tomk: Super-annoying isn’t a superpower.
tomk: And Jenny’s ability to harness the power of a million exploding suns is still a secret.
jimmy: Right. Well, that Superman guy. He doesn’t think much of his teammates.
tomk: Well, he isn’t wrong about being able to take a hit better, even from those robot drones that look an awful lot like Zeta did in his first appearance on Batman Beyond.
jimmy: Riiiight. I knew they looked familiar!
tomk: Well, your Jimmy-sense was tingling, but your Moose Memory wasn’t strong enough to make the exact connection.
jimmy: We all know my memory’s not so good.
tomk: You have had trouble remembering things since you saw Krull and Clue back-to-back.
jimmy: It was the blurst of times.
tomk: And then you read Civil War II.
jimmy: Ugh. No wonder I cracked 3/4 through the first series in the Epic Spider-Man Rewatch.
At least we’ve managed to keep the DCAU rewatch going over all these years.
tomk: It helps that the lows are not as low as the Clone Saga.
jimmy: Well, we’re sure talking “around” this episode. One of the problems when this shows become consistently good. It’s much easier to chat about the problems. That said, anything else stand out here to you?
tomk: John Stewart had the least problems in this episode all things being equal. I suspect it’s because his history with the Marines and the Green Lantern Corps made him more used to working with others than the rest of the League.
jimmy: Knowledge which he tried to impart through training at the MIB training facility.
tomk: And he made a construct when he tried spying on the Secret Society of Supervillains.
jimmy: Gross’s mind tricks had removed his inhibitions about worrying what the others would think about him making constructs.
tomk: Autocorrect made that an interesting sentence.
tomk: Well, at least we can both agree: the Shade was right and these villain team-ups never work out.
jimmy: Good thing we don’t see another one for awhile.
tomk: Nope. The next story does not have…um…
jimmy: Uh oh.
tomk: But that is more an incidental thing as the story looks deeper into one member of the group and what he means to the others.
jimmy: Is it a guy who was a super jerk in this story?
tomk: Weren’t they all jerks in this story?
jimmy: Yes, but “super” jerks?
tomk: You’re right. It’s another Aquaman tale!
Or maybe we need to wonder what the world would be like without a Superman.
jimmy: World without a Superman? That has a nice ring to it.
NEXT TIME: Tom and Jimmy will be back soon with a discussion of the Justice League episodes “Hereafter,” “Wild Cards,” and “Comfort and Joy”.
Wednesday “Quid Pro Woe”
Noteworthy Issues: Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #13 (March, 2023)
The X-Files “Talitha Cumi”