August 15, 2022

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Going Through The DCAU Part Eighty-One

Jimmy and Tom are still on Justice League Unlimited, chatting about the episodes "Hawk and Dove," "This Little Piggy," and "Fearful Symmetry."

Jimmy Impossible sure was psyched to see an expanded Justice League roster when he and Tom started talking Justice League Unlimited.  Then he got a couple episodes that were focused solely on the original team.

Good news for Jimmy, then, as the next batch of episodes featured some new faces for him and Tom to chat about.  See below as they get to “Hawk and Dove,” “This Little Piggy,” and “Fearful Symmetry”.

“Hawk and Dove”

Wonder Woman and two bickering superhero brothers have a civil war to stop, but there are some other factors there making things much, much worse.

jimmy:  I thought Dove was a hot blonde girl?

tomk:  That’s the second Dove. This was the original Dove that Steve Ditko created and died in the Crisis.

jimmy:  And drives Hawk mad or something?

tomk:  They just argue.

That was their thing.

jimmy:  I mean after Dove’s death.

tomk:  Oh, that.

He went a little mad and became Monarch when the second Dove died. But they both got better.

jimmy:  That’s nice.

tomk:  Don Hall, the original Dove, couldn’t come back as a Black Lantern. He’s as dead as Ben Parker and Batman’s parents.

jimmy:  That’s pretty dead.

tomk:  It was due to the nature of his powers.

He was “at peace”.

Keep in mind Ditko created them in the middle of the Vietnam War era. They were supposed to represent the two sides in that debate while the father (a judge) represented a wise middle ground.

jimmy:  So does the show actually say they are brothers or are you concluding that from the comics?

tomk:  They don’t call themselves brothers in the episode?

jimmy:  They might have, but I didn’t notice.

tomk:  I thought they did.

But I couldn’t say when.

jimmy:  Quite possible, I might have just missed it.

What exactly are Dove’s powers?

tomk:  Same as Hawk’s. He just doesn’t use them for belligerence.

jimmy:  He seemed to have super speed which Hawk didn’t seem to really use.  He was more brute force.

tomk:  Dove does have the same strength, but if you look, he used it more for defensive fighting moves like judo and using his opponents’ attacks against him.  He did break a rifle over his knee.

The second Dove, Dawn, could also fly.  I don’t think Don can.

jimmy:  Wonder Woman could only bend rifles.  He showed her!

tomk:  And the Annihilator?  It breaks everything.

jimmy:  I found the beginning of this episode odd, like it was back in the 1300’s or something.  And then Ares shows up selling the Annihilator to a modern middle eastern country and I thought, “well, he’s a God and has just lived a long time…odd he’s only now breaking out this robot…”.  But then Diana showed up at Ed Asner’s workshop and it was obvious that it was all happening in the present.  Maybe it was just me.

tomk:  Ares, voiced by Michael York in his third DCAU appearance as another new character, traditionally appears as a big armored goon.

As for Ed Asner…same deal after a BTAS mobster and Granny Goodness.

His Hephaestus sure did sound sleazy.

jimmy:  Especially when he was hitting on Wonder Woman…or whatever that was.

tomk:  Talking about flaws in her armor…

jimmy:  And then, what I assume is a fat joke, or about her breasts when he tells her to come back and he’ll let the armor out a bit.

tomk:  Or it was made for a different woman (Hippolyta) and it doesn’t really fit.

jimmy:  Nah.  He was talking about boobs.

tomk:  Thank you, Canadian Watson.

jimmy:  Now, now. There’s no need for name calling.

tomk:  You are right. I apologize. You’re a better man than all the Hawk and Dove writers who came in after Ditko left and decided Dove was useless.

jimmy:  Hence expendable in Crisis.

tomk:  He was pulling kids from a collapsing building when a shadow demon grabbed him if I remember right.

And Hawk watched the whole thing happen.

jimmy:  Maybe Hawk was the useless one.

tomk:  You may be on to something there.

And you must have been pleased the opening credits revealed Dove’s winning strategy against the Annihilator by just standing there.

jimmy:  I almost never watched the credits and may not going forward.

tomk:  That may be wise.

Have a cookie for wisdom.

jimmy:  I better watch my figure with all these cookies or I’m going to have to get my armor taken out a bit as well.

tomk:  You’re showing more wisdom already. Have another.

jimmy:  No, no, I shouldn’t…well, ok, just one more.

tomk:  I am a bit surprised you haven’t mentioned the casting for Hawk and Dove yet.

jimmy:  That’s usually your thing.  But, it was inspired no?

tomk:  Even more so when you learn Fred Savage and Jason Hervey swapped roles at one point.

jimmy:  I read that.  The actors suggested it as juxtaposition to their Wonder Years roles.

tomk:  It worked.

jimmy:  I always knew Fred Savage was a secret ass kicker.

tomk:  He’s so much more than that.

jimmy:  lol

tomk:  Well, you got new heroes, Jimmy. Happy now?

jimmy:  I mean, I’d be happier with this…but…they’re ok I guess.

tomk:  Well, they aren’t the most interesting of heroes. There’s a reason Don never came back from the dead since Dawn is probably a better character.

jimmy:  You’d know better than me.  I do enjoy Dawn on Titans.  For…reasons.

tomk:  Well, I don’t see Cousin Minka too often.

jimmy:  Damn you to hell, 2020!!!

tomk:  The guy who plays Hawk seems to hang around a lot for some reason.

Well, Jimmy, are you ready to move on?

jimmy:  But it feels like we just started talking about Minka Kelly.

tomk:  Or you were.

Wait, is that her hanging out with the Moose behind your shed?

jimmy:  I wish.

We might want to at least mention Wonder Woman’s anger issues.

tomk:  J’onn noticed. And he cast some major Martian shade.

jimmy:  J’onn doesn’t mess around.

tomk:  I think Diana learned to be less angry by seeing the unstoppable suit of empty armor that ran off rage.

jimmy:  Well, good coincidence that that was who they were fighting this week!

tomk:  It’s like J’onn knew…

jimmy:  He is psychic.

tomk:  Or he asked Diana like he said he did because Diana’s friend Queen Audrey asked for her specifically.

jimmy:  Or, you know, that.

tomk:  Ah, Queen Audrey…the friend we only hear about but never see after she had Vandal Savage tossed into a dungeon…

jimmy:  That worked out.

tomk:  Well, he only destroyed the world by mistake in an alternate future that no longer exists.

jimmy:  As long as it no longer exists, then that’s ok.

tomk:  Well, remember that when Diana’s anger issues don’t reappear again.

jimmy:  She’s cured now.  She saw what it did to the Raginator and changed her ways.

tomk:  Well, that certainly does explain everything.

jimmy:  See, you just got to pay the attentions.

tomk:  So, did you learn to let go of your rage after “Kid Stuff”?

jimmy:  I guess we’ll see the next time there’s some kinda kid stuff…

Stupid kids.

tomk:  Well, the next one is another humor episode, the one per season written by Paul Dini, and I can guarantee you no one in it turns into a kid.

jimmy:  You’ve sold me!

tomk:  Good.  And since this is JLU, we also get Zatanna.

jimmy:  Fishnets eh?  Things are looking up.

tomk:  Shall we see how much?

jimmy:  Let’s do it.

“This Little Piggy”

To save a teammate, Batman calls on Zatanna for help!

jimmy:  Wonder Woman turned into a pig.  Batman crooning ballads.  Yup…no kid stuff in this one.

tomk:  Wonder Pig? It’s been done.

And I did promise you no one would be turned into a kid. I never said anything about pigs.

jimmy:  You did keep that promise.  And I prefer Spider-Pig:

tomk:  Not Spider-Ham?

jimmy:  Heh, that’s good too.

tomk:  Maybe skip Bat-Bat.

jimmy:  Na na na na na na na na Bat Bat!

tomk:  I did say “maybe skip”.

jimmy:  I liked it!

tomk:  Ah.

In that case, how did you feel about Wonder Woman as a pig?

jimmy:  I mean, it wasn’t horrible…and was better than Batman singing…not that his singing was bad…just that he shouldn’t have been.

tomk:  Hence the reason he sang.

My understanding is that came about because Bruce Timm and Paul Dini heard him singing the musical stuff for Batman Beyond and realized Kevin Conroy had a great singing voice.

jimmy:  There’s no doubt he can sing.

tomk:  So the problem wasn’t Kevin Conroy’s singing; it was Batman’s singing. 

jimmy:  No.  It was Batman singing.

tomk:  I see.

This may be your favorite funny episode from the looks of things.

You aren’t complaining as loudly as you did for “Kid Stuff”, “Joker’s Millions,” or even “Baby-Doll”.

jimmy:  Yet.

tomk:  Yes.  Yet.

However, this time around you got B’wanna Beast, whose weirdest power was never even shown, and the Red Tornado, Elongated Man, and Crimson Avenger looking for a pig with bracelets.

I am sure when you said you wanted more new heroes, Red Tornado robotically saying “Sooie!” was really what you had in mind.

jimmy:  It was?  My mind thinks some strange things.

tomk:  Maybe you wanted B’wanna Beast to do this:

jimmy:  Well…that’s a little strange.

tomk:  The Silver Age, ladies and gentlemen!

jimmy:  So…how well can he communicate with animals?  Once he went into that pig pen, he didn’t seem to be getting much help.

tomk:  There were a lot of pigs.

Granted, only one with bracelets.  How well could you find someone in a big city if you just asked random people on the street?

jimmy:  Point taken.

tomk:  He should have just looked for a piggy snitch.  Finding a snitch always gets results.

jimmy:  The whole pig thing was pretty dark with them casually walking to their deaths.

tomk:  And how gleefully those guys tossed a small pig onto that conveyor belt.

jimmy:  Right!?!

I know they are detached and it’s their job and bacon is delicious…but still.

tomk:  How long have you been eating Amazon Brand Bacon, the only bacon good enough for Paradise Island?

jimmy:  Only like forever.

tomk:  I may have some bad news for you…

jimmy:  Don’t you ruin bacon!

tomk:  The price is going up due to a sudden shortage of pigs in the pen.

jimmy:  I suppose at this point we need to plug the book Ryan co-wrote.

tomk:  Fallen #2?

jimmy:

tomk:  There are other bacon manufacturers.

jimmy:  There better be.

tomk:  So, it sounds like you took notice of Wonder Woman at the stockyard. Meanwhile, Circe got slammed by a piano.

jimmy:  She didn’t turn out to be much of a villain. She completely abandoned her break in attempt and after she transformed Diana, just became a lounge singer, and then turned Diana back because Batman sang half a song.

tomk:  Batman revealed something of his soul.

Something he can never get back. Possibly because Zatanna recorded it with a hidden camera.

jimmy:  That’ll pop up when least expected at the JL Christmas party.

tomk:  Or a Teen Titans sleepover in the Batcave.

jimmy:  Haha

tomk:  However, Circe is one of Wonder Woman’s biggest enemies. She usually does more than try to make it as a lounge singer.

jimmy:  I would hope so.

tomk:  And Batman knew her bit because he read The Odyssey.

jimmy:  And I assume that makes sense having never read it.

tomk:  She lives on an island and turns Odysseus’ men into pigs.

jimmy:  Seems about right then.

tomk:  But this was a supremely silly episode.

jimmy:  No?  Was it?  Even the new heroes were mostly silly or doing silly things.

tomk:  Are you being sarcastic?  I don’t even know anymore.

jimmy:  No. B’wanna Beast is silly. Elongated Man is kinda silly. Red Tornado is not silly but was squealing like a pig.  Crimson Avenger is not silly, but he’s going door to door asking people if they’ve seen a pig with bracelets on.

tomk:  And getting an old sitcom punchline for a reply.

jimmy:  Which was?  (Can’t recall.)

tomk:  “Sir, I’m looking for a pig.”
“Gladys, it’s for you.”

jimmy:  Haha, oh yeah, that was good.

tomk:  It’s really rough being the Crimson Avenger.

jimmy:  Just came across this too:

“On the commentary, the producers allude to a scene that was cut from the final print of the episode: Soon after Wonder Woman is turned into a pig, there would be a scene featuring the Joker and his gang preparing for a crime with the intention of laying a trap for Batman. At that time, Batman would pass by their sight, consoling a pig in his arms. After staring blankly at the scene, Joker would comically give up on the job and call it a night. The Scene never made it past the Writing Stage due to it not fitting Tonally, diluting the plot and emotional Payoff between Bruce and Diana.”

tomk:  As someone who has listened to that commentary track, I can confirm that.

Not sure about that odd capitalizing of random words in that passage you found…

jimmy:  I just cut and paste.

Another episode about a possible Bats/WW romance which Bats shuts down. Her reaction to his reason of his enemies getting to him through her was funny.

tomk:  I figured for the cut and paste.

And that poor gargoyle.

jimmy:  Hopefully not one of those gargoyles that comes to life at night.

tomk:  That’s more of a Disney thing.

jimmy:  Yeah.  Instead we get a Bugs Bunny reference.

tomk:  You mean known Justice Leaguer Bugs Bunny?

And he uses a hyphen.

jimmy:  But of course!

tomk:  You didn’t even notice how good Batman is that he can put a coin in a ferryman’s hand while blindfolded.

jimmy:  Oh, I noticed.

tomk:  Batman’s methods worked oddly well with Greek mythological figures.

jimmy:  He’s Batman.

tomk:  Yeah, but it meant Zatanna was mostly good for tossing stuff at demigoddesses.

jimmy:  Besides that (arguably), did Zatanna do anything of use in this episode?

tomk:  She provided transportation and knowledge.

She was someone Bruce could trust for help.

And she said stuff backwards a couple times.

jimmy:  All true. But her locator spell doesn’t work. She is useless against Circe. She makes Batman continue singing.

tomk:  She’s truly a good friend to…somebody. Maybe she can get Medusa’s curling iron back.

jimmy:  I’d say the snakes hid it and blamed it on Circe.

tomk:  Huh. You took a good joke and made it better. Have a toll coin for the ferryman.

jimmy:  Hopefully I won’t need it. Soon at least.

tomk:  Use it in a vending machine. Get a bag of chips. He likes those more.

jimmy:  And we can share!

tomk:  Everybody wins!  Except for you because you’re still dead.

jimmy:  But I have chips!

tomk:  That gif is far too appropriate for this conversation.

jimmy:  

tomk:  Ready to move on, Chip?

jimmy:  Heh.  Sure.  Does anyone get turned into anything in the next one?

tomk:  No. Instead you get a much more serious episode where the original team is limited to one member having a short cameo and setting up a long term story. Also, one of Bruce Timm’s favorite characters shows up for the first time.

jimmy:  Sounds good.  Let’s check it out.

“Fearful Symmetry”

Supergirl is having nightmares that seem a little too real.

jimmy:  Power Girl, I guess?

tomk:  Yes. Have a gold star.

jimmy:  I honestly never thought I’d see a boob window in the DCAU.

tomk:  Now you have.

jimmy:  Indeed.  Even Green Arrow was impressed when he wasn’t thinking about his dreams with Black Canary.

tomk:  Ollie may be a perv.

But considering Power Girl was originally Earth-2’s Supergirl, this is a good way to put her in this universe.

jimmy:  Clones always work out for the best.

tomk:  No one has ever had cause to complain about any sagas where there are clones attacking.

jimmy:  What about these guys?

tomk:  Terrifying?  Possibly.

jimmy:  And suddenly STAR Labs is bad.  Or do we file it under “national security”?

tomk:  Or maybe it isn’t STAR Labs. Maybe it’s something else.

jimmy:  Do you know something I don’t know?

tomk:  Probably.

jimmy:  In either case, we now have a clone of Supergirl in canon…and another episode where Superman could have showed up and ended things in 2 minutes.  Or possibly even J’onn for that matter if he poked around a few brains at “STAR Labs”.

tomk:  But then no one would have asked the Question.

jimmy:  I don’t think they called him that (or anything) on the show.

tomk:  Well, that’s who he is, and Bruce Timm loved the guy.

jimmy:  Green Arrow did not.

tomk:  Green Arrow prefers people with boobs, not people he thinks are boobs.

jimmy:  Heh.  Nice.  This time you get a cookie.

tomk:  Mmmm.  Macaroons…

OK, so, we snicker at the Question and his conspiracy theory-believin’ ways, but he did figure out where he had to be entirely on his own even if he had some bubble gum pop song stuck in his head when he got there.

jimmy:  That was funny.

tomk:  Yes.  GA and Supergirl get there and more or less sneak in with a clever disguise and some lockpicking.  The Question just shows up and tosses a potted plant through a window.

Also, bad things happen to somebody whenever the Question is behind the wheel of a car.

jimmy:  That’s why they revoked his license.

tomk:  And I am sure he has a very complex explanation for who “they” is.

jimmy:  They’re on his board.

tomk:  With the boy band whose poster is also on Kara’s bedroom wall.

jimmy:  Even super powered alien teenage girls like boy bands.

tomk:  Of course they do.  That’s what the secret powers behind the bands want them to like…

jimmy:  Interesting crossing of streams as STAR Labs has a holodeck.

tomk:  There was a lot of continuity going on here.  General Hardcastle looked like the same guy who made things worse for Superman when that giant heat-eating monster the Promethian came to Earth.  Likewise, whoever is behind “this” has something to do with Volcano before she went off to stay on that island that Superman delivered supplies to and the Royal Flush Gang that the Joker recruited.

jimmy:  And Superman turning bad.

tomk:  That too. You probably never did trust Professor Hamilton.

jimmy:  And I’ve only watched half his musical.

tomk:  This Hamilton might have thrown away his shot.

jimmy:

tomk:  You ought to as many times as Ryan has referenced it.

jimmy:  I also know where King’s Landing is.

tomk:  Aren’t you full of knowledge.  Green Arrow and Supergirl should have asked you about what was going on.  At least you stay out of everyone’s garbage.

jimmy:  …uh, right.

tomk:  Jimmy, have you been going through people’s garbage again?

jimmy:  …no?

tomk:  Well, OK then.

You’ve got an honest face.

jimmy:  So, you know stuff about stuff, what is the significance of Power Clone’s name?

tomk:  Galatea?  Uh…it isn’t Kara?

jimmy:  Maybe it’s something backwards: Aetalag.

tomk:  Saying your name backwards sometimes does strange things, but not this time.

jimmy:  Gone to the 5th Dimension forever now.  :disappointed:

tomk:  Sadly, yes. But I think he took Adam West there first.

jimmy:  2020!!!

tomk:  But how about that Jeffrey Combs?

jimmy:  Very distinctive voice.  Never hard to pick him out.

tomk:  And he isn’t just a creepy Scarecrow this time.

jimmy:  Just a creepy conspiracy theorist with no face.

tomk:  But he did have a face in that taxi.

jimmy:  That’s just what The Man would want you to believe.

tomk:  Except I saw it and know he really just wears a special mask to make himself look faceless.

jimmy:  If you think that then They’ve already won.

tomk:  Fine. That weird gas he used to put the mask on and change the color of his clothes was just my imagination.

jimmy:  Now you’re getting it!

tomk:  I think you might be looking a bit deeper than intended on Rorschach’s inspiration.

jimmy:  And I should probably stop looking in the trash.

tomk:  Well, just don’t eat anything you find at the top of the can.

jimmy:

tomk:  You didn’t know George Costanza was the Question, did you?

jimmy:  I didn’t.  He’s been working out.

tomk:  He only sounds like the Re-Animator.

And like Rorschach, he wears stilts to look taller.

jimmy:  It’s interesting that the Question has no face and Rorshach’s face is his most distinctive characteristic.  That said, I guess having no face is distinctive in a different way.

tomk:  Steve Ditko intended the Question (and Mr. A) to be his mouthpieces for his Objectivist philosophy. Rorschach being a crazy ultra right wing nut job goes along with that. The Question, no matter what his guiding philosophy, is known for mostly being a thorough investigator who won’t stop until he gets to the Truth. JLU just made him a conspiracy theorist.

jimmy:  I guess being a good investigator wasn’t sexy enough for the plot.

tomk:  Well, they probably didn’t want to get overly political for this show and needed some reason for the Question to clash with known leftie Green Arrow.

Besides, the conspiracy stuff does make the Question something of a deadpan comedy goldmine.

jimmy:  Like Mulder.

tomk:  Essentially. But I would argue this is the weakest of the various episodes to feature the Question.

jimmy:  I blame Zeta.

tomk:  You always blame Zeta.

But that is another way this episode starts to use JLU to tie the entire DCAU into one big story/universe. It’s why I think the DCAU actually rivals the MCU for a big story told over multiple years and franchises.

jimmy:  As you mentioned, this one in particular is very continuity heavy.

tomk:  I also found it a bit unsatisfactory when I first saw it. Part of me still does because it doesn’t really offer much in the way of answers and while Galatea is defeated, nothing feels resolved and she will come back. This episode was more about setting up a grand plot than anything else.

jimmy:  I don’t mind those aspects.  You can’t have your big story told over multiple years and franchises cake and eat it too, Tom.

tomk:  Except I didn’t know that was what they were doing at the time this was new.

Even the Hawkgirl story was mostly just a plot point here or there. This was something new: a whole episode just to set things up.

jimmy:  It still felt self contained though.  The mystery, the discovery, the final battle.  Even if not further reaching the little “Tea is still alive” teaser is very commonplace.

tomk:  I know. But I wanted to know why Superman ally Professor Hamilton had an evil clone.

jimmy:  That’s why they always tell you to “Stay tuned!”

tomk:  You always take they’s side.

Regardless, you are getting new characters now, Jimmy. You must be oh-so-pleased.

jimmy:  Well, one of those new characters was the Question, so…

tomk:  You liked the Question?

jimmy:  Meh.

tomk:  Ok, well, they can’t all be Hawk and Dove.

jimmy:  They sure can’t.  I mean, he was ok and all, but doesn’t do much for me.

tomk:  You caught him going through your garbage, didn’t you?

jimmy:  There was stuff in there I didn’t want anyone to know about!!!

tomk:  Maybe shouldn’t have just tossed that stuff in the garbage, then.

jimmy:  How else do you dispose of plutonium, Tom?  Huh?

tomk:  Bury it deep underground in a lead-lined barrel, preferably under a ton of cement.

Like Greg does.

jimmy:  Well, when we start talking about Greg, you know we’ve tapped out of things to say.  It bugged you, at the time at least, but I’m curious where this whole Evil STAR Labs/Power Girl storyline goes.

tomk:  And find out you shall!  Later.

We’ve got another new hero, and one last humor episode up next.

jimmy:  Batman turns into a mite, I guess.

tomk:  No one really turns into anything. Instead, we just spend a little time with Booster Gold.

jimmy:  Oh?  Now, Booster’s antics I like.

tomk:  In that case, let’s see what that lovable scamp is up to.

NEXT TIME:  Tom promised Jimmy some Booster Gold, and Jimmy’s gonna get that and more with the episodes “The Greatest Story Never Told,” “The Return,” and “Ultimatum”.  Be back for that soon!

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