January 24, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Going Through The DCAU Part Seventy-Nine: Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths

The Justice League goes to an alternate Earth to take on their evil counterparts, the Crime Syndicate!

Jimmy and Tom decided to take a little side trip as they worked their way through the DCAU with the direct-to-DVD movie Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.  Why?  Well, the whole thing was an adaptation of a movie that was meant to bridge the gap between Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.  It’s not quite the DCAU, but you can kinda see it when you squint and turn your head.

Or that’s what they convinced themselves of when they watched it.  Let’s see what they had to say…

Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths

The heroic Lex Luthor from another reality comes to the Justice League looking for some help bringing down the evil Crime Syndicate of his own world!

jimmy:  Well, that was good…but didn’t feel like it belonged in the DCAU.

tomk:  It will make more sense when you see how Unlimited changes things up.

Look at it this way: the plot suggests that something happened to a Hawkgirl on the Crime Syndicate side and she isn’t around on the League Earth either.

jimmy:  I totally missed that.

Crisis on Two Earths was reworked from the Worlds Collide script to remove references to the TV series’ continuity.”

No kidding.

tomk:  Yeah. It’s a loose connection, but I think it’s still worth taking a look.

jimmy:  You can see the backbone there.  The “new” satellite headquarters, the recruitment drive.  But you need to ignore the non-DCAU elements.  Hal Jordan instead of Jon Stewart.  Aquaman in the classic orange shirt and green pants (and getting his ass kicked his entire appearance).  And not a familiar voice in sight…er…earshot.

tomk:  Aquaman made up for his strength with pure enthusiasm.

Plus, if the scariest words from Batman are “Wait for it,” Black Canary’s are “Wanna hear a secret?”

jimmy:  Reminded me of Umbrella Academy, though this obviously came first.

tomk:  It also helps to realize Superwoman was not an evil Wonder Woman. Then you know who her gang is supposed to be and why Aquaman wasn’t strong enough.

jimmy:  Mary Marvel?

tomk:  That is correct.

jimmy:  Which made me wonder how the lightening attack worked against the Made Men?  Though, I suppose, lightening and electricity are not exactly the same thing… 

tomk:  That is true. Also, it isn’t quite the same as the regular world. And Diana did get to smack her double around eventually.

jimmy:  Indeed.

tomk:  So, Owlman…

jimmy:  Was this one of those “quite charming” versions?

tomk:  How charming is a James Woods-voiced character?

jimmy:  Not very.

tomk:  Does that answer your question?

jimmy:  Well, I was joking, but yes!

tomk:  Good. Because really, according to Owlman, it doesn’t matter.

jimmy:  Nothing matters.

tomk:  He must be fun at parties.

jimmy:  Superwoman seems to like him.

tomk:  I don’t think she thought that relationship through.

Or at least his multiverse-destroying bombs.

jimmy:  No?  She seemed pretty into it once he explained it.

tomk:  Did she realize she was also doomed if it went off?

jimmy:  I assume so. She was a little crazy.

tomk:  Yeah, but he was just…dark. Lousy nihilists.

jimmy:  He was probably happier before he got James Woods’s voice.

tomk:  I know I was happier when I didn’t have James Woods’s voice.

jimmy:  We all were.

tomk:  There was that odd week I sounded like Watson.

jimmy:  I try to block that out.

Have you read any of the source material this borrows from?

tomk:  I have. The Crime Syndicate is usually limited to the five characters we saw. Sometimes there are more, but the implication is villains don’t really get along and five is about as many as can work together at best.

They originally came from Earth-3. There, heroes were villains and the only good guy was Lex Luthor.

jimmy:  I don’t know much about them outside of the Forever Evil arc in Justice League during the New 52.  This story seems to borrow heavily from Morrison’s Earth-2 (which I haven’t read) from what I’ve seen online.

tomk:  It sort of does. Morrison expands on the idea that the good guys were evil in the alternate universe with the idea everything was the opposite. There, for example, Clark Kent was an astronaut who went into space, got hurt, aliens fixed him up, and he has to expose himself to “anti-kryptonite” to maintain his powers. Superwoman was also Lois Lane. Owlman was Thomas Wayne Jr punishing his police commissioner father. The whole world was nasty. It was even built in that on the CSA’s world, evil always won the way the League always won in their world because it was some sort of fundamental law of the universe.

jimmy:  Is there any clues as to the identity of Owlman here?

tomk:  Not a one. For any of them, really.

jimmy:  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  He’s probably just James Woods.

tomk:  Well, if so, Batman wasn’t trying very hard.  James Woods is actually very easy to handle.

jimmy:  Haha

Maybe Batman didn’t bring enough Batcandy for both of them in his utility belt.

tomk:  Well, he didn’t expect to get to the other world.  He’s lucky he remembered his knock-out gas.

jimmy:  Batman won in the end of course, but Owlman seemed to be the better fighter.  He just blinked looking back at the abyss…or whatever.

tomk:  He also wasn’t beaten up by Superwoman before the fight started.

jimmy:  Hmm.  Also true.

tomk:  This is a Batman who just took on the entire Shazam/Marvel family for a few minutes before going unexpectedly to an alternate reality.  He’s lucky he could see straight.  If he wasn’t Batman, he probably wouldn’t have.

jimmy:  I did find it interesting in a movie with so many beings with incredible abilities, the fate of the multiverse came down to two guys with no powers punching each other.

tomk:  But one of them was Batman and the other was Evil Batman.

jimmy:  I know, but in almost any other setting outside the DC universe, you just know the final battle would be Superman vs Ultraman.

tomk:  Yeah, but they got James Woods and a Baldwin for Owlman and Batman.  They got Mark Harmon and some guy for Superman and Ultraman.

jimmy:  Also true.

tomk:  Though yes, I would have preferred the regular JL cast.  They do bring those guys back from time to time for these things though sometimes with Tim Daly instead of Gary Newbern.

jimmy:  I have to put aside that this wasn’t part of the DCAU and wasn’t released as the bridge between JL and JLU as originally intended.  Then it makes more sense for a voice cast, different GL and Aquaman, etc. stand point.

tomk:  Yeah, and it’s only a bridge if you squint as you watch.

And that’s bad for your eyes.

jimmy:  All it really would have done, I’m assuming, would be to set up the return of the Watchtower, WW’s invisible jet, and the expanded roster.

tomk:  Yes.

Also, well, the Crime Syndicate are classic League opponents that somehow never ended up on the show.

jimmy:  Outside of that “fake” Crime Syndicate episode.

tomk:  Well, yes.  The Justice Lords aren’t quite the Crime Syndicate.  They did what they did to protect people and just took it too far.  The Syndicate is a bunch of criminals.

jimmy:  And who’d have thought that Deathstroke would be a better president than…well…you know.

tomk:  Than Jimmy Carter?  Well, Carter is history’s greatest monster.

jimmy:  So I’ve heard.  And J’onn sure called the “on our world she’s probably evil”.

tomk:  Rose Wilson?  Sometime member of the Teen Titans?  Eh, maybe.

jimmy:  She’s also a lot younger than J’onn.

tomk:  Goes to show what you know. J’onn is only three and a half years old.

jimmy:  February 29th birthday I guess.

tomk:  Martian years.

A Martian year is 687 days long.

jimmy:  Is that facts or just Tom talk?

tomk:  You could double check.

jimmy:  “The Earth zips around the Sun at about 67,000 miles per hour, making a full revolution in about 365 days – one year on Earth. Mars is a little slower, and farther from the sun, so a full circuit takes 687 Earth days – or one Mars year.”

You win this round, Mr. Kelly.

tomk:  It takes a big man to admit his mistakes. You get a gold star.

jimmy:  Given the number of heroes on his Earth, I think J’onn probably could have stuck around.

tomk:  Yeah, but he left all his stuff on the League Earth.

jimmy:  It’s where his beer and TV is.

tomk:  You can’t just replace that stuff.

jimmy:  Apparently not.  Or, you know, they have the tech…he could spend time in both worlds.

tomk:  Yeah, see, that sounds good in theory, but you just know at some point he’s gonna get creeped out by some other “opposite” thing in that world, like how Hydrox cookies taste like Oreos.

jimmy:  Medical science says not to ingest those Hydrox cookies.

Kind of funny though that the residents of Earth-2 had their organs switched around.  That’s quite an evolutionary change for a world that seems almost identical to the JL’s Earth, just with some bad guys as good guys and vice versa.

tomk:  The comics sometimes really got into it, like how England fought a revolutionary war to get Independence from America.

jimmy:  I mean, the stories are literally infinite…but…what are the odds that humans evolve with mirror image organs, yet the Earth’s essentially have the same people just with different attitudes?

tomk:  Um…

Fifty-fifty?

jimmy:  Hmm…I don’t know if that is as good as your Mars year number…

tomk:  Well, this ain’t the Hunger Games and the odds are never in my favor.

jimmy:  Overall, did you enjoy this one?

tomk:  Actually yeah. I often feel these direct to video movies are kinda short and the more famous actors brought in aren’t quite right for voice work, but this is a good one. Then again, I am a sucker for alternate reality stories and evil doubles.

jimmy:  Agreed. My biggest complaint would be missing the original voice cast, notably Conroy of course.

I don’t need no Baldwin Batman.

tomk:  And yet, he may not be the worst Batman.  That said, I can’t think of anyone who did a Batman I thought was particularly bad aside from maybe the guy who voiced Batman for the animated version of Frank Miller’s Year One.  But that had Bryan Cranston as Jim Gordon, and he’s more the focus of the story.

jimmy:  Funny enough, the guy who played Batman in Year One played Jim Gordon on Gotham.

tomk:  Huh.  No wonder I found Batman so bland and forgettable.

jimmy:  Well, we haven’t gotten silly which is usually the sign to move on, but anything else to add to this tangent?

tomk:  Batman tricked a guy into killing himself.

jimmy:  As long as he doesn’t physically kill him it’s ok. See Batman Begins.

tomk:  Manipulating an enemy into something dangerous that would kill an ally is OK. Got it.

jimmy:  Hey, I’m just telling you the rules.

Unless you’re Superman and have to stop another Kryptonian. Then it’s ok to kill them.

tomk:  And Ultraman lived…

jimmy:  Did he really expect they would nuke him and take them all with him?

tomk:  …yes?

Criminals like Ultraman are a superstitious and cowardly lot.

jimmy:  It’s typical superhero cliche though. Fight good guy, almost kill him, but just barely lose. Cops show up, cart super powered being off to jail in a pair of handcuffs. The end. (Until they break out in no time since they are often in a normal cell, still in costume.)

tomk:  I have no idea what you are talking about.

jimmy:  Link doesn’t work, but I think I know what it is.

tomk:

jimmy:  There we are. 🙂

tomk:  Lousy computer issues.

jimmy:  So all the MCU needed was a couple of cops and a distraught MJ to take down Thanos?  That would have been a disappointing movie.

tomk:  Or an unexpected one.

Thanos goes down, and the real threat is revealed to be, let’s say, Moe.

jimmy:  And now we’re getting silly…

tomk:  IT’S ALWAYS MOE!

jimmy:  Even when it was the Crime Syndicate, I knew it was Moe.

tomk:  Well, anything else?

jimmy:  Not really. I wonder why they couldn’t pul it together and gotten it released in it’s original incarnation as a true bridge between JL and JLU?

tomk:  I dunno. Some sort of witch’s curse?

jimmy:  As good a reason as any.

tomk:  Do you have a grade for this one?

jimmy:  Let’s say 8.5 creepy James Woods voices out of 10.

tomk:  Same here.  8.5 Roid Ragin’ Jimmy Olsons out of 10.

jimmy:  Heh. I forgot about Ultraman’s Pal.

Was just thinking, we touched on it a little bit, but for the most part the doppelgängers of the Justice League (and others) were not simply evil versions of Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, etc.

tomk:  Not really. Ultraman was more of a mob boss.

jimmy:  Owlman was very Evil Batman but didn’t seem to be Bruce.

tomk:  Of course he wasn’t.  He was James Woods.

jimmy:  Shall we move on to something a little less James Woodsy?

tomk:  Like a bunch of Three Stooges shorts?

jimmy:  Umm…

tomk:  Well, it won’t be the Disney version of Hercules. That has even more James Woods.

Instead, we can see how the DCAU Justice League is doing without Hawkgirl.

jimmy:  And with a few new super-friends.

tomk:  Well, maybe just a few.

Anyway, ready for a more…Unlimited Justice League, Jimmy?

jimmy:  I am.

tomk:  Well, then, we should see about how the League membership drive is working as the show slips back to a half-hour format.

NEXT TIME:  Tom and Jimmy move on to Justice League Unlimited with the episodes “Initiation,” “For the Man Who Has Everything,” and “Kid Stuff”.

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