April 19, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Going Through The DCAU Part Eighty-Three

Jimmy and Tom return with the JLU episodes "Dark Heart," Wake the Dead," and the two part "The Once and Future Thing".

Jimmy and Tom must have hit a good rhythm since they seem to be getting through these a bit faster these days.  Could it be the two know they’re close to the end of the road and are anxious to see how it all ends?  I dunno.  One of them already knows, so it may be a moot point.  Regardless, this time around the guys cover the episodes “Dark Heart,” “Wake the Dead,” and the two part season one finale “The Once and Future Thing”.

“Dark Heart”

A piece of self-replicating alien technology lands on Earth, and while most of the League fights it, the Atom has to take it down from the inside!

jimmy:  I always suspected the saving of the world would come down to Wonder Woman’s cleavage.

tomk:  No comment…aside from the fact I am somehow not surprised that that was your first comment.

jimmy:  I know how to give the fans what they want.

tomk:  Which fans.

jimmy:  Umm…well…uh…how about The Atom!?!  Am I right!?!

tomk:  Ah yes. The Atom, voiced by actor John C. McGinley. Seen here in what is probably his best known role:

jimmy:  I’ve seen Scrubs.  Great casting though.  He sounded exactly like I would have thought Ray Palmer would sound.

tomk:  Yes, you may have seen Scrubs, but those fans you mentioned might like to be reminded.

At any rate, this is what kind of threat requires everybody.

jimmy:  It’s a convenient trope that if you kill the “heart”, all the “offspring” immediately die.

tomk:  It worked for the Avengers!

Then again, you’re not the slightest bit concerned that Ray Palmer went down into a giant alien murder machine at the size of a molecule and somehow still found the right heart in mere minutes.

jimmy:  Should I be concerned?

tomk:  Well, General Eiling took the remains with him, and he seemed like a trustworthy fellow.

jimmy:  He’s not wrong to call the Justice League out on having a WMD floating above the Earth.  Trustworthy or not.

tomk:  Don’t you trust Superman?

jimmy:  I knew you were going to say that.  And apparently, a lot of folks haven’t forgiven him for the ending of his own series.

tomk:  What a bunch of ingrates!

jimmy:  I haven’t forgiven Watson for taking over the 2nd biggest office on the 3rd floor, so I understand.

tomk:  But you got the biggest office on the 5th floor with access to the helipad.

jimmy:  Heli-yeah I did!

tomk:  Watson still needs to ask Jenny for the key to the restroom.

jimmy:  The trench seemed like a silly deterrent anyway.  Maybe it slows their advance, but all they need to do is go to the bottom and come back up the other side.  How about this for your super weapon…aim it at the alien ship.  The Atom stopped them by squeezing an artery, I’m sure completely vaporizing them would have worked.

tomk:  J’onn said a direct hit would scatter them and if the heart was fine, a single bot would start the whole thing all over again.

Don’t you trust the Martian Manhunter?

jimmy:  I can see that…but c’mon…you think that beam, that could dig that trench at that width and depth with pinpoint accuracy couldn’t hit that ship…that wasn’t moving mind you…and completely obliterate it?

tomk:  Um, yes?

jimmy:  Your honor, I rest my case.

tomk:  Judges?

jimmy:  See, he feels the same way.

tomk:  Let me appeal to the higher court. Does Jimmy’s questioning invalidate an in-story explanation?



Maybe we should move onto the next topic.

tomk:  Like how you wanna be a motorcycle-riding cowboy?

jimmy:  Who doesn’t?  Yee-haw!!!

tomk:  You must have been thrilled to learn Batman can freeze a river.

jimmy:  He’s Batman.

tomk:  Firefly was really pushing it that day.

jimmy:  My first thought was Mr Freeze, but that’s pretty much the opposite of what he’d need that for.

tomk:  Unless Freeze went swimming and Batman saw a way to capture him easily.

jimmy:  Now, Tom, that’s just silly.

tomk:  Freezing the Gotham River was how Bruce captured Freeze in Freeze’s last appearance before Batman Beyond.

jimmy:  Like I said, now Tom, that’s just brilliant.

tomk:  Well, that doesn’t sound right.  Am I right that Jimmy said something else before, Judges?

jimmy:  At least they tried to explain why he happened to have it on board instead of just a random Shark Repellent or something.

tomk:  I would think any mission over the ocean would require some shark repellent.

jimmy:  That’s why you always have yours.

tomk:  You’d be surprised how often it comes in handy.

jimmy:  I haven’t seen you killed by a shark yet!

tomk:  And I keep pictures of Spider-Man in case I run into General Eiling.

jimmy:  Yeah, he gets pretty steamed about Spider-Man for some unknown reason.

tomk:  Spidey has an even bigger WMD on the moon.

jimmy:  That webbeaded menace!

tomk:  In the DC Universe, he really is a menace.

jimmy:  Batman seems to like him.

tomk:  Batman doesn’t see him sneaking up behind him maybe.

jimmy:  Maybe…

tomk:  What?  Are you telling me Batman has contingency plans for Spider-Sense?

jimmy:  He is Batman.

tomk:  Yes, but you love Spider-Man, and Batman doesn’t believe in hyphens.

jimmy:  That’s ok, this was a low hyphen needed situation.

tomk:  Well, you seem pleased with yourself now and your punctuation knowledge.

Should we ask what you thought of Ellis’s script?

jimmy:  It was good. Obviously we picked on a few things, but Ellis is a great writer.

tomk:  It does sound like his work.  The Atom’s line about the old man and his long theory on what the alien menace was before he even saw it.  Batman’s terse lines as he fell from the destroyed Batwing since he can’t fly.  At all.  J’onn’s explanation for what the giant ray gun from space was.

jimmy:  The Batman line, and Conroy’s delivery, was perfect.

tomk:  Also, general distrust of authority figures.

jimmy:  Is that a usual Ellis theme?

tomk:  Oh yeah. Stuff like The Authority or Transmetropolitan frequently show the protagonists thumbing their noses at the people in charge.

jimmy:  I haven’t read either. Don’t tell Jenny!

tomk:  Jenny?  No.  I’ll tell Watson, Ryan, all the Gregs, Jonathan, the Moose, Patrick Stewart (who wrote an introduction to one Transmet trade), Billy, Bobby, Buttercup, Batman, and Cousin Minka.  But not Jenny.

jimmy:  Phew!

tomk:  Well, the Atom saved the day and all is well…for now.

jimmy:  Only thing left to do is start filling in that trench.

tomk:  With what?

jimmy:  Popcorn kernels?

tomk:  Works for me.

Those things just get stuck in my teeth anyway.

jimmy:  I’m sure they’ll tell us in the next episode.

tomk:  Would you like to see?

jimmy:  If you are.

tomk:  Then let’s go!

“Wake the Dead”

Solomon Grundy returns from the dead, and this time, he seems unstoppable!

jimmy:  A mercy killing…that’s pretty deep for a Saturday morning cartoon show.

tomk:  Especially since the show aired Saturday evenings.

jimmy:  That makes more sense.

tomk:  Of course. Now have a cookie that totally wasn’t resurrected with chaos magic.

jimmy:  So, no calories?

tomk:  I dunno. Probably.

jimmy:  Maybe I’ll put it in this other dimension until I’m ready for it.

tomk:  Good idea.

jimmy:  I guess we should talk about the elephant in the room…

Hawkgirl’s beating Batman at chess.

tomk:  Wait, there was an elephant in that room?

Must have been behind Amazo.

jimmy:  You mean the Android that was twice “defeated” before only because he decided to stop, but ran away from Grundy?

tomk:  Hey, it was another Defenders tribute episode and they needed a Silver Surfer.

And you wanted to know what Amazo couldn’t stop.

jimmy:  The dead.

tomk:  Or, just chaos magic, the kind a Lord of Order like Dr. Fate couldn’t do anything about either.

jimmy:  But could be conjured up by 3 witless teenagers.

tomk:  Yeah, well, no one heard Grundy stomping through that dorm’s hallways before he crushed that one guy’s skull during the opening credits.

jimmy:  Everyone knows you’re light on your feet prior to your first skull crushing.

Speaking of…did Grundy get the other two kids first off screen?

tomk:  Possibly. We don’t see them again.

Not even for Fate to scold them for meddling in forces they do not understand.

jimmy:  And they weren’t even shocked when they conjured up something that they eventually just termed a light show. Obviously this wasn’t their first time practicing chaos magic…though their robes were rented.

tomk:  Eh, they live in a superhero universe. That stuff probably happens all the time.

jimmy:  I suppose.

tomk:  After what happened with the last time Amazo went outside, why would anything be a shock?

Or maybe they were just idiots.

jimmy:  Well, they were conjuring up the undead to stop a rash of wedgies…

tomk:  Clearly, they put a lot of thought into fair treatment. Those guys gave the nerds purple nurples, so clearly sending undead hordes after them was fair punishment.

jimmy:  Though I think they were just trying to give themselves super strength but instead raised the dead. Which seems to be a common thing with dark magic. Do a spell wrong, raise the dead.

tomk:  They might get away with it if they don’t wreck the car.

jimmy:  And if it wasn’t for those meddling kids and their dog.

tomk:  Um…Vixen can channel dogs.

jimmy:  So, what is her power?  Just take on the property of any animal she feels like?  Is she related to Bravestar?

tomk:  The totem necklace she wears allows her to channel the abilities of any animal. And she might be related to Bravestar but I don’t think so.

Mostly because VIxen’s powers come from made-up African mysticism and Bravestar’s comes from made-up Native American mysticism.

jimmy:  Made up or not, it seemed silly to think that dropping a statue on the guy beating up Superman was going to stop him.

tomk:  She’s a high fashion model, not an undead monster specialist.

jimmy:  And John’s new squeeze apparently.

tomk:  You expected him to stay pining for Shayera for the rest of his life?

jimmy:  No, of course not.

tomk:  Good.  Neither did he.

But man, did Vixen look pissed to see Hawkgirl fly in.

jimmy:  Did she ever!

tomk:  Vixen should be nicer.  From this episode onward, Hawkgirl is included with the opening credits.

jimmy:  Of course. Everyone knows that killing one zombie is redemption for betraying the entire human race.

tomk:  Superman believes in second chances.

Also, it helps to scoop one kid and her mother to safety.

jimmy:  Well, the entire “secret back storyline” seems to be essentially be about people who still don’t trust Superman after what happened.

tomk:  Superman of all people believes in second chances.

Though if he was the tie breaker and John abstained, how did the other four vote?  Diana certainly voted to kick her out.

Flash seemed inclined to let her stay.

That leaves J’onn and Batman.

jimmy:  J’onn in, Bats out.

tomk:  Makes sense. I heard the Moose just voted for pancakes for dinner.

jimmy:  Now that’s what I want!

tomk:  How about bacon pancakes?

jimmy:  Does such a thing exist?


jimmy:  What’s odd is that after you mentioned them I watched an episode of Frasier and they were raving about someone’s pancakes. They were so good because they crumbled up bacon and put it right in the batter.

tomk:  They also used chaos magic.

jimmy:  That would make it delicious for sure.

tomk:  Or it makes angry rage zombies that can smack everyone around.

jimmy:  Pretty random that they resurrected Grundy all the same.

tomk:  Eh, Grundy coming back to life is kinda his thing.

jimmy:  Oh those wacky zombies.

Though this episode seemed to be more about retuning Hawkgirl to the fold than anything.

tomk:  That’s a good reason to have an episode.

I mean, the next one is the two part season finale.

jimmy:  One season down already?  They do seem to go faster when they’re not muli-episode stories.

tomk:  They only do 13 episodes per season.

jimmy:  Well, that would explain it too.

tomk:  I mean, it might be time to bring the band back together.

jimmy:  The Beatles?

tomk:  Not The Rolling Stones.

Grundy was a Rolling Stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home. And when he died, all he left was a loan.

jimmy:  Perhaps Queen, the greatest rock and roll bad ever.

tomk:  Only according to people who think proof is hearing popular Queen songs playing in Starbucks around the same time as a popular movie about the band was out is somehow proof of their superiority.

jimmy:  Then perhaps we should talk about the actual band you are trying to segue to?

tomk:  Right. Um. The Beatles?

jimmy:  Now Tom…

tomk:  Oh, you want to do the two part season finale with all the time travel shenanigans?

jimmy:  They are the best kind of shenanigans.

tomk:  And maybe this time, Batman can go with the time travelers.

jimmy:  Why should they have all the fun?

tomk:  Well, he didn’t get to punch a Nazi.

This time, maybe he can punch…something else.

“The Once and Future Thing”

Time traveling thief Chronos just wants his wife’s respect. What could possibly go wrong?

jimmy:  I’m no expert on time travel, but I’m pretty sure you can’t use it to make a round trip to space.

tomk:  Haven’t you ever heard of the space-time continuum?

jimmy:  I have.

It still seemed like most of what Chronos did was more about teleportation than time travel.

tomk:  You have seen Umbrella Academy?

jimmy:  I have.

tomk:  Have you read the comics?

jimmy:  For UA?

tomk:  Yes.

jimmy:  No.

tomk:  In the comics, Number 5 doesn’t have teleportation powers.  He has time travel powers, and he just skips ahead a few seconds at a time to make it look like teleportation.

And then there’s Doc Brown’s time machine that must also move through space since the planet itself is in constant motion.

jimmy:  Yes, I get that. But you’re not skipping ahead a few seconds to end up on the JLA Watchtower.

tomk:  He also used it to cause instant rust.

jimmy:  That makes more sense.

tomk:  And then there was Chucko…

jimmy:  That the guy he sent to see how the dinosaurs became extinct?

tomk:  Yes.

“Do you know what killed the dinosaurs?  Chucko does.”

jimmy:  See, that’s time travel!


So, is this where you question why the Batman from six hours in the future couldn’t change the course of his own destiny?

jimmy:  No. Since he was the Batman from 50 years in the future and since he didn’t remember these events, the timelines were different.

tomk:  Well, you must have at least been happy to have three Batmans.


jimmy:  And Terry still pales in comparison. Nice to see him again though.

tomk:  Until he got killed by Harley’s granddaughters.

jimmy:  I’m sure he returned when they fixed time!

tomk:  Probably.

But look what you got in this two-parter.

You got Chronos voiced by Peter MacNicol, go to voice actor for weasels everywhere when he isn’t in thrall to Vigo the Carpathian. 

You got Hal Jordan in his only DCAU appearance.

You got Static in his only DCAU appearance outside his own show.

You got Bruce Wayne telling himself off.

You got Jonah Hex back, and this time he mentioned how the character has been in the future.

You got other Western heroes.

And you got to see John Stewart realize he might be someone’s daddy someday.

jimmy:  Who may or may not have been hatched from an egg.

tomk:  Now don’t you wanna see Hawkgirl sitting on a giant egg?

jimmy:  No?

tomk:  Good.  You aren’t a freak.

Not that we like to kink shame around here, but an episode of Justice League Unlimited that’s just Harkgirl sitting on an oversized egg is probably really dull.

jimmy:  Since you mentioned the name, I’m pretty sure the team didn’t start going by “Justice League Unlimited”, so I thought it was strange when one of the clowns said “The JLU showed up.”

tomk:  Maybe they were called that in Terry’s time.

jimmy:  Perhaps, but no one else in that time calls them anything but Justice League.

tomk:  Then maybe the “U” stands for something else.

Like “Universal” or “Umbrella” or “Ugly MoFos”

jimmy:  The Justice League Ugly MoFos…no wonder Wonder Woman decided to cease to exist.

tomk:  She probably thinks Hawkgirl belongs there.

jimmy:  She likes to give second chances too.

tomk:  She does?  This Diana?

jimmy:  Or doesn’t?

tomk:  That side eye she gave Hawkgirl in the cafeteria suggests she doesn’t.

jimmy:  She just didn’t want her sitting at the cool kids table.

tomk:  John and Batman?

jimmy:  Is anyone cooler?

tomk:  Batman, Wolverine, Doctor Who, and any character played by Paul Newman.

And for the women, we can keep Diana, add add Lara Croft, Ellen Ripley, and any character played by Lauren Bacall.

jimmy:  Well now. You took that question pretty seriously.

tomk:  I have to. I’m stuck at a table with Plastic Man, Buzz Lightyear, Maggie Simpson, and the Three Stooges.

jimmy:  Who’s at my table?

tomk:  The Mask, Dudley Do-Right, Deadpool, and a bunch of hockey players that know you aren’t a fan of the sport so they don’t know what to say to you.

jimmy:  That…sounds about right.

tomk:  Watson, meanwhile, has a table with the Clock King, Nightwatch, and the Talking Cat.

jimmy:  On an unrelated note, how good is Batman that he could take one look at Chronos’s belt and know exactly how to write a program in 5 minutes to shut him down?

tomk:  Future tech isn’t that futuristic.

jimmy:  Unless you need to turn someone’s hand into a chainsaw.

tomk:  Not the knees?

jimmy:  That would make no sense.

tomk:  Better to just start handing out lightsabers and self-replicating abilities.

jimmy:  They didn’t even try to disguise the Darth Maul two bladed saber rip off.

tomk:  Well,if Maul was an overweight half ballerina clown.

jimmy:  He might be after Phantom Menace.



tomk:  So, how about that more Western-sounding recreation of the original Justice League credits?

jimmy:  I did enjoy that.

tomk:  And did you enjoy the Old West Justice League?

jimmy:  It’s got Jonah Hex, what’s not to like?

tomk:  You might object to happy-go-lucky gambler Bat Lash, particularly since he’s not really related to Batman.

jimmy:  And I would think that because…he has “Bat” in his name?

tomk:  That or he’s Batman’s whip.

Hey, that guy doesn’t carry a whip either!

jimmy:  Maybe it’s just a coincidence.

tomk:  El Diablo carries the whip.


tomk:  Yes, well, that was Nestor Carbonell as El Diablo.  He was Richard on Lost, the mayor in two of the three Nolan Batman movies, and on the first live action Tick show…

jimmy:  He has a distinctive look.  And loves bats apparently.

tomk:  Meanwhile, Bat Lash was voiced by actor Ben Browder, best known for his lead role on the sci-fi series Farscape that you’ve probably never seen but probably should.

jimmy:  Is that the one with the muppets?

tomk:  Yes.

jimmy:  I’ve seen a few episodes.

tomk:  Well, you had the pop culture spouting Earth man, the alien warrior woman he was smitten with, a big berserker guy, a sentient plant alien, and this short fellow who argued with everybody.  That sort of thing will never be copied by anyone.

jimmy:  Umm…

tomk:  Something wrong?


tomk:  Oh good.

But then you had Adam “Not Related To Alec or The Others” Baldwin as Jonah Hex and Hal Jordan.

jimmy:  This a new voice for Hex?

tomk:  He didn’t play the character on BTAS.

jimmy:  Then that’s new!

tomk:  Well, yes.  Yes it is.

As for not as new, there was the shot of the hand around the swirling galaxy at the end of part two and the Green Lantern legend that you can’t look at the beginning of time or bad things happen.  That all came from the original Crisis.

jimmy:  I need to reread Crisis.

tomk:  Do you need to make sure you’re still in continuity?

jimmy:  Heh. No, I just didn’t get the references.

tomk:  Ah.  I see.

References are only good if you recognize them.

jimmy:  I wonder how many younger viewers were like “WTF?” when Hal Jordan showed up?

Also seems like something Ryan would complain about.

tomk:  Ryan’s overuse of superlatives to describe things makes his opinions less nuanced.

jimmy:  And he loves Krull.

tomk:  That too.

jimmy:  Aquaman’s hand showing up was in an outtake.

tomk:  Considering I don’t think Aquaman appears on the show again, sure.  Why not?

jimmy:  Man, that was a total stab in the dark and worked out perfectly!

tomk:  Stabbed like a harpoon hand?

jimmy:  I’ll take it.

tomk:  Well, you got Old West Batman and Future Batman. You must have been pleased.

jimmy:  And Terry.

tomk:  Yes.  And Static.

jimmy:  Who I know nothing about.

tomk:  To be fair, Static’s show wasn’t really DCAU until its second season when the guest stars started showing up.

jimmy:  How many seasons were there?

tomk:  Three or four.

Static was originally part of the Milestone line of comics.  That was a DC imprint, originally a separate continuity, from African American creators using African American heroes. Static was a kid who could control electro-magnetism. And for his first season, his show was treated as its own universe. That said, I have only seen a handful of episodes. It has a good rep, and Static is the Milestone character most likely to appear in a DC book these days.

jimmy:  Or a movie.

tomk:  Goes without saying.  Static also eventually popped up on Young Justice, and in the comics, I think he was part of the Teen Titans for a period.  He did have his own title as part of the New 52.

Or you could just read this.

jimmy:  I’m familiar with the historical significance of Milestone, but can’t say I’ve read a single one of their comics.

tomk:  I read a couple when there was a Superman books crossover.

And I read the first couple issues of Static’s New 52 series.

jimmy:  Well, John Stewart knew who he was.

tomk:  He ought to.  He was one of the guest stars on Static’s show.

jimmy:  I figured.

Not much of a send off for Terry in what I assume is his last appearance.

tomk:  You’d think that, wouldn’t you…

jimmy:  Oh…wink

tomk:  It is the last time we see Jonah Hex, Hal Jordan, and, let’s say, Moe.

jimmy:  Moe was always my favorite Leaguer.

tomk:  Yup. Good of’ Moe Chronos. We’ll just have to make due with the Amazing Bulk.

jimmy:  So, any particular reason the season is so short?

tomk:  13 episodes per season is standard for a lot of cartoon shows.

jimmy:  Guess I’m used to stuff like BTAS with like 40 episodes in a season.

tomk:  That was weekday television.  Saturday morning TV tends to do 12 or 13.

jimmy:  Well, you’ve just an answer for everything tonight don’t you?

tomk:  If I say “no,” is that an answer for everything?

jimmy:  Yes. No. Dammit!

tomk:  I don’t know either.  I just know there are scarier things than being in a perpetual loop of having your wife yell at you for all eternity.

jimmy:  That sounds pretty scary to me.

tomk:  Jimmy, you should know by now I can pull out much scarier things.  Like, did you know this is a trailer for a real movie:


jimmy:  Dear sweet baby Jesus.

tomk:  I told you it was scarier.

jimmy:  Let’s never speak of that again.

tomk:  The Bulk can sit at Watson’s table.

jimmy:  As long as he doesn’t show up in JLU Season Two.

tomk:  He does not.

jimmy:  Should we find out who does?

tomk:  We shall.

We can start with two characters we’ve seen before finally talking to each other.

jimmy:  Lois and Wonder Woman?  Or was that just a dream Superman had?

tomk:  How about Green Arrow and Black Canary?

jimmy:  Does he like her?  I couldn’t tell.

tomk:  Wanna find out?

jimmy:  I do.

tomk:  Then let’s see how that works out.

NEXT TIME:  Tom and Jimmy will return to talk more Justice League Unlimited with the episodes “The Cat and the Canary,” “The Ties that Bind,” and “The Doomsday Sanction”.