Episode 1: Initiation
You know, I’m not very familiar with the older JLA cartoons, but I’m way into the new theme song. It’s got the massive, iconic trumpet and violin score that just says, “We’re incredibly serious! Do whatever we say!” and then the segue into the wailing guitars that says, “And we would have been incredibly cool if this were the eighties!” Heck, I think the eighties was the last time I saw any part of a JLA cartoon, and that mostly involved Wonder Woman deflecting bullets from her bracelets. Those silly crooks, always trying to show off their marksmanship by shooting out peoples’ wrist arteries.
0:0:0: Whatever, it’s the very first few seconds of the DVD:
Here we are, watching some of those generic ski-masked crooks robbing what appears to be a supermarket. It’s got way too many tall aisles to be a convenience store, plus there’s the produce/dairy/vague square cartoon background displays there. We have to assume that they just decided for some reason to rob a local Safeway with automatic weapons, only to be foiled by one of D.C.’s more flamboyantly silly second-stringers: Green Arrow.
0:1:35: Green Arrow demonstrates his ability to avoid bullets by doing slow dive-rolls. This may be his only real super power.
0:1:55: GA stops to help up an attractive woman in a tight skirt. She must’ve twisted an ankle in those high-heeled boots she’s wearing to buy groceries in. GA almost gets blown away by one of the crooks who isn’t quite as subdued as he assumed, only to be rescued by Green Lantern, this apparently being the point where the writers decided they needed more green-themed characters on screen at once. (In keeping with the ongoing transformational nature of comics, Green Lantern is now a sturdily built black man instead of a scrawny white guy. Man, it’s been a long time since I actually read a D.C. comic without the words Batman or Dark Knight in the title. At least he has a better voice than Green Arrow.) To my disappointment, this is a D.C. cartoon and there is no chance of She-Hulk showing up.
0:2:15: Green Lantern speaks into his earpiece, and they get beamed up to the JLA’s space station while Ollie is in mid-carp about what show-offs the Justice Leaguers are. You know, I’ve seen Green Arrow in comic books and I always pictured him having a deep voice, or at least sounding like Errol Flynn as Robin Hood. Ignoring the preconception they’ve created, the makers of the cartoon elected to hire a voice actor who sounds like a sixteen-year-old.
0:2:30: GA is welcomed by Superman, Batman and Wonder-Woman, with backup dancers Jonn and the Flash looking on with folded arms. The opening strains of the horn-heavy theme song play as GA belatedly demands to know where he is. “Among friends!” says Superman in a youthful tenor voice totally unlike any other one I’ve heard in a Superman cartoon. Seriously, guys, bring back the sixties Father Beaver voice. Green Arrow turns with shock and horror to see that the entire big room behind him is full of poorly-animated superheroes, including a giant robot with a girl riding on his shoulder who must have wandered over from the manga next door. (I really think the only reason giants ever make it into ensemble casts is to make better background shots.)
0:2:50: The theme song plays, showing enough heroes to indicate the JLA is now big enough that they can focus on any random character if the Big Five get boring. I’m betting Superman, Batman and/or Wonder Woman will still be in every episode.
0:3:50: Superman is gives a little speech about how everyone present has something to contribute — “Strength, speed, stealth, whatever.” This marks the first and hopefully last time I ever hear the word “whatever” pass the Man of Steel’s lips. The camera pans past a Rogue’s Gallery of vividly colored spandex-clad supers.
0:4:32: “We can’t be cowboys any more – or cowgirls!” The JLA laughs obediently; the camera shows us that women are laughing also. Sexist jokes are a lot funnier when made by someone who could crush your skull like a grape, ladies!
0:4:47: Batman and GA have a discussion at the back of the crowd, talking right through Supe’s speech. Apparently they’ve forgotten he can hear basically everything everywhere and could easily take umbrage at their rudeness. GA complains about how he didn’t join the JLA because they forget about “the Little Guy,” in case we forgot his whole “comically activist Liberal” shtick. Batman makes the salient point that preventing giant robots from stomping the Little Guy flat is probably at least as helpful as taking down the kind of morons who rob supermarkets with AK-47s.
0:5:26: Jonn and Green Lantern confer regarding a nuclear radiation source on their sensors that is moving in a straight line. Jonn suggests GL take along Captain Atom, who might be able to “absorb some of the radiation,” although if their globe model were to scale the nuclear thingie would be hundreds of miles across. GL says he needs some muscle, apparently not having looked in the mirror recently, and Jonn tells him to take Super Girl along — “She’ll have to start sometime.” I’m guessing Little Miss Perky won’t stop harrassing him, since he’s almost the only other extraterrestrial with whom she doesn’t share DNA. Chicks dig the bald gray guy.
0:5:53: An exciting “walking down the hallway” moment, wherein GL asks if the other two have ever been to Chong Mai. Captain Atom observes that it’s a Class III felony for Americans to go there, though he doesn’t specify exactly how that works given that it’s a foreign country. Supergirl demonstrates her command of world events by inquiring whether it’s near Daytona beach. GL rolls his green eyes and sighs exaggeratedly, realizing too late why Jonn is so eager to get rid of the belly-baring blond brat.
0:6:10: Green Arrow catches up to the others and complains about being left at the base when he doesn’t want to join up. He seems to have a McCoyesque dislike of the transporter, so Green Lantern offers to drop him off in their Javelin plane/spaceship/motorized vehicular object after they chase down the nuclear thingie.
0:6:50: Humorous exchange in the partly-computer-animated Javelin. Supergirl wants to drive, but Captain Atom is concerned about whether she’s “certified in a Javelin.” She suggests he “take the stick out” and is rewarded with a leering wink from Green Arrow, who apparently is not aware that statutory rape laws apply to super heroes. (Or of what will happen to him when the obviously conservative Superman finds out his cousin is dating a goateed Berkeley graduate who is twice her age.)
0:7:16: Green Arrow inquires after Captain Atom’s containment suit, then gripes (I hope Ollie/Green Arrow doesn’t play a huge part in the next couple of episodes, because I’m going to run out of synonyms for “complain.” My guess is that Batman wanted him to join so his constant whining would get Superman off the Dark Knight’s back.) about being in the same plane as “what I marched against in college,” the existence of sentient beings made of nuclear energy apparently being a major protest point back in the 60’s. Captain Atom, no doubt a secret Green Party contributor, looks hurt.
08:01: Heh. “Roger that.” Yet I’m still sympathizing more with Captain Atom than Super Twit. The writers feel it’s important to waste several seconds of screen time showing us Green Arrow lounging in the door to the plane, drinking something transparent from a bottle with no label. He must’ve found Green Lantern’s Absolut stash in the back of the Javelin.
08:19: Green Lantern deflects rocket-propelled grenades and bullets using a shiny green shield from his ring. Apparently they treat Class III felonies differently in Chong Mai. After some bitching from his teammates, he uses the shield to knock the green-uniformed fellows over and a green telekinesis-type beam to retrieve their weapons. A guitar player has a seizure on the soundtrack.
09:18: What appear to be poorly drawn North Koreans show up, complete with green jodhpurs, to stop the firefight. General Kwan informs the JLAers the accident is under control and not to let the door hit them on the way out. Ollie and Captain Atom exchange a longing glance behind Green Lantern’s back, anxious for the moment when they’ll be alone with Supergirl. Ollie surprisingly refrains from congratulating the apparent Communists on how well they’re sticking up for the Little Guy.
09:36: “I tell you, it took all my restraint not to part his hair with my ring,” says Green Lantern to Jonn over the communicator.
“You did the right thing, but the problem is not under control; it’s getting worse,” says Jonn. The viewer agrees, only to have it disappointingly revealed that they’re talking about General Kwan, not Green Arrow and Supergirl. It then turns out that Green Arrow, pouty over Jonn’s insistence that they comply with the government’s wishes, has bogarted their Geiger counter and taken off on his own.
10:55: Green Arrow’s stolen Geiger counter reads off the scale when pointed at a government convoy he’s watching from the bushes. He appears unconcerned by the fact that he is now sterile and has mere hours to live; perhaps his costume is secretly lined with lead.
11:00: The last driver in the convoy loses control of his truck for no apparent reason and drives it through the guardrail of a bridge, leaving it with its nose sticking out into the air. Ollie does a snowboard-type slide down a cliff face to more guitar seizures and stops the multiton truck’s fall with wooden rope arrows. They hold long enough for him to rescue the driver. I reevaluate my stance on Green Arrow’s lack of super powers.
12:07: General Kwan’s definition of “completely under control” seemingly encompasses giant flaming skull-creatures with arm cannons. This is stretching it even for a Communist. The ominous soundtrack disagrees with him.
12:27: The flaming giant thing shoots through the bridge with his laser, thoughtfully starting about 200 yards away and sweeping it sideways so Ollie has plenty of time to rescue General Kwan before the bridge is cut in half. Ollie uses another rope arrow to go charging straight up the cliff he just came down. At least, I think that’s what happens. The filmmakers have decided it is now night, so it’s hard to see anything on the screen.
12:56: The love child of Ghost Rider and a Metroid shoots and stomps some tanks. We’re shown the drivers bailing so we’ll know there’s no body count or anything. That’s the trouble with kids’ cartoons these days. We’re teaching our young that even massive arm-cannoned monsters can’t successfully kill anybody, and ordinary humans with guns represent a minimal, even comical threat.
13:25: Green Lantern saves Green Arrow’s butt again, preventing him from being fried by the robot. Honestly, I can’t imagine why the Lantern isn’t plotting to kill him already.
13:35: “Looks like I just can’t help horning in,” sighs Green Lantern as he lofts Green Arrow in his manly arms. Maybe this is why he hasn’t killed him yet.
“There’s some people at the cliff!” Ollie says, eager to change the subject.
14:17: Green Lantern saves some North Korean peasants who were milling around in the dark, along with two oxen. Beats me what they were all doing out in what appears to be wooded wilderness area at night. Kind of pointless saving them from the robot when they’re all going to die from radiation poisoning in the next few weeks anyway.
14:34: Captain Atom’s attempt to “bleed off” the creature’s nuclear energy results in him crashing to Earth, somehow making a perfectly round crater. Supergirl hurries over to fondle his manly chest.
15:01: Supergirl, despite supposedly having the same powers as the Big S, is sweaty in three seconds of pounding on the Creature. Then it bats her into a cliff, where she staggers up in a dazed manner. This is lousy even for Superman’s teenage cousin.
15:20: The robot blows most of Green Lantern’s clothes off. Woo hoo. What’s the target audience of this cartoon, again? Less fortunate than Captain Atom, he gets his chest fondled by Green Arrow instead. As Supergirl flies over to join the party, the robot just wanders off, apparently bored.
15:58: Argument over whose fault it is that Green Lantern is lying around topless on a gurney. “If you two are too busy playing alpha male smackdown…” Guess they can’t say “pissing contest” on a children’s cartoon. Have fun explaining to the kiddies what an “alpha male” is, parents. Try to work in the phrase “breeding rights.”
16:30: It’s okay for Supergirl to be blatantly thrusting her pelvis, complete with visible crotch triangle under her skirt and tightly outlined breasts, but Captain Atom has a Ken Doll groin?? Man, it must really suck to be made out of nuclear energy. Also, children’s show animators are cradle-robbing perverts, but I guess we’ve known that since the original He-Man: Masters of the Universe.
16:40: Supergirl confirms my opinion of her intelligence by demonstrating she can’t correctly count to five.
17:10: Oh, I see. They’re going to stop a fifty-foot walking nuclear pile so powerful the radiation is visible from space by sticking five or six carbon rods into its reactor. It’s probably going to work, too.
17:30: Guys who are made of nuclear energy can be endangered by the heat from a nuclear reactor. Huh.
17:58: The robot tries to fry Supergirl, probably in order to stop her from uttering any more terrible lines. Sadly, he does not succeed.
18:43: Ooh, that’s gotta hurt, Atom! At least he’ll die with the satisfaction that the fallout will kill every normal human within miles. Green Arrow and Supergirl look stunned as they realize the depth of the atrocity. You’d think they’d have sent the one who is invulnerable to harm first instead, but this crew aren’t about to win the Brightest Crayon award without Green Lantern there.
19:05: Ollie’s dive roll saves him again, this time from laser cannon fire. Misses twice in a row with the carbon rods. Fans of the original Green Arrow have heart attacks.
19:49: It’s amazing how easily giant robots can be foiled by the simple expedient of hiding behind a tree.
20:30: Also, a falling, burning hat is incontrovertible proof that you’ve killed the owner of said hat.
20:43: “Say ‘Ah,’ Dirtbag.”
I am dazzled by the brilliance of the dialogue. Apparently just part of one carbon rod succeeds where an entire bundle of them was supposedly required before. Ollie’s hair looks artfully tousled as it blows in the breeze.
21:05: Supergirl comes back to punch the head off the robot, after it’s been deactivated by the guy whose powers consist of a large budget and moderate archery skills. She is the lamest, worst superhero I’ve ever seen. The guys who made this are apparently such horny morons that they’re not only incapable of envisioning a woman wearing the same kind of clothing as her male counterparts, they can’t imagine her being remotely competent at her job given the biggest, baddest set of super powers in the history of comics. Where’s Wonder Woman when you need her?
21:44: Back at JLA headquarters, guys in blue Hazmat gear are pumping Atom’s energy contents back into his costume. A couple of muscular, outlandishly clad unknowns look on impassively from the background, possibly on their way to the JLA’s gay discotheque. Green Lantern appears to have stolen the mechanical wheelchair from Charles Xavier over in the Marvel universe. He’s also sporting a couple of small Band-Aids on his face, as if he just cut himself shaving.
21:53: No, you idiot, he’s not going to give you the “you did good” speech because you did awful. I’m amazed that the worst Green Lantern threatens her with is getting thrown out of the league. Twit.
22:30: Batman catches Green Arrow on his way out of the shower, clad only in a towel. Ollie, too, has forehead Band-Aids, but apparently they’re less serious than Green Lantern’s.
22:57: Sexy music interrupts the conversation. Ollie turns to see another blond in a dark, cleavage-revealing outfit seductively pulling on a large-cuffed boot. This one appears to be in the “barely legal” rather than “jailbait” category. Green Lantern implies he’s now interested in joining the League. Batman stalks off, no doubt rolling his eyes under his mask. He has no idea.
00:19: The episode opens with a gap-toothed blacksmith hitting an anvil in front of a big fire. I check to see that I’ve still got the JLA dvd in my computer and not a cartoon version of Das Ringen der Nibelungen. Yep.
00:45: Pretty boy in massive supervillain-style armor comes along and complains that the smith, referred to as Hephaestus, isn’t finishing his suit fast enough. Hephaestus implies that the customer is a pansy. I agree.
01:20: The Annihilator, hm? Looks like another giant robot episode.
01:38: Wait, the pretty guy is supposed to be Ares? Ha ha. Looks like he can’t quite fight off his own robot. Some deity.
1:56: “Wrap it up. I’ll take it.” It’s a robot, you fool, not takeout Chinese food. And what’s Hephaestus going to wrap it in? Bubble wrap? Is Ares planning to haul it off over his shoulder?
2:05: Intro again. I note with amusement what a prominent place the gleam on Wonder Woman’s metal bustier is given.
3:08: The robot stalks through rubble toward some guys who are firing automatic weapons at it, throwing grenades, etc. Is this Afghanistan?
3:28: One wheel from the derelict car they were hiding behind rolls off to the side. “Impressive,” says the warlord, viewing the deaths of presumably several of his own personnel. Ruthless. His accent sounds vaguely Eastern European; Ares sounds like he’s voiced by Patrick Stewart on a very bad day.
4:01: Mr. Sera. Clever alias.
4:33: Elsewhere in the world, two bank robbers make a tire-squealing escape. Apparently they were too cheap to hire a getaway driver. Instead, they left their car unlocked and running on the street right outside the bank. So already we know they’re not exactly geniuses.
04:55: The driver sees a belly-shirted woman in the street (See previous remarks in re:writers/artists=perverts) and speeds up to hit her, just in case we didn’t get that these are bad guys. Instead she punches the hood of the car, more or less stopping it, and growls about losing her day off. Isn’t that always the way.
05:03: From the wristband bullet deflection trick, I deduce this is supposed to be Wonder Woman. “Oh, yeah, like that’s going to work,” she says, sneering at the threat of mere bullets. Apparently she’s stronger than I remember. The soundtrack bass line indicates she is Bad with a capital B.
05:35: And now she’s flying? Whuh? Did she beat up Supergirl and take her powers? That would be awesome, but it seems unlikely given D.C.’s refusal to ditch the little blond tart.
05:50: Wonder Woman gets her new mission, which seems to involve conflicting paramilitary groups in some random country somewhere, and rants about how violence is people’s only response to their problems. Jonn points out, with some justice, that she’s not one to talk. Diana takes this about like you’d expect. I like her already.
06:25: Oh, good, the invisible jet actually now makes its PILOT invisible too. It used to be pretty funny with Wonder Woman looking like she was basically flying, but in a sitting position with a bunch of dotted lines around her.
06:27: And the sports bar is called…. Sports Bar! I’ll bet they have a gas station called Gas Station, a bank called Bank, and a Mutant Reviewers branch called Bunch of Lunatics.
06:43: “Just because I disagree with you doesn’t make me unpatriotic!” whines an unidentified blond guy.
“No, being a bleeding heart punk makes you unpatriotic,” says the knit-hatted and unusually flat-nosed thug who is among the mob about to jump Blondie and his burlier redheaded friend. Humorously enough, the redhead agrees. Ha ha.
06:55: And that’s a really femme jukebox for a Sports Bar. Did they wander into some kind of conservative gay bar? No, silly me, then it would be called “Conservative Gay Bar.”
07:20: “Hawk!” “Dove!”
Okay, these two seriously seem like a couple. Right down to the political arguments.
07:50: See? And now they’re squabbling like old marrieds.
08:20: Hawk snatches up a thug who was about to hit his partner with a pool cue. Nobody does that to his man. Wonder Woman bursts onto the scene accompanied by overbearing musical cue and chastizes the two boys for not answering their summons just because they were busy beating up an entire bar.
08:50: And now we’re at some kind of very neat military complex, with nice rows of tanks, missiles standing upright, and spotless camo tents. If this is paramilitary, it’s the neatest bunch of guerillas ever.
09:09: Scarily bulgy-eyed friar, complete with tonsure, robe and staff, admonishes a bunch of brown-uniformed goons that they must go attack somewhere with a name that sounds like Bosnia with a K. Surprise. Obviously villainous general guy with scar agrees. Tanks ride out, and then the scary old friar morphs into Ares. Ew.
10:05: Hawk and Dove are in Wonder Woman’s plane, still arguing. Dove maintains that “almost all aggression can be cured with education,” apparently having forgotten that he kicked a fair number of butts back in the bar. Or maybe he considers himself uneducated, having barely just got his GED.
10:34: Ares’ robot stomps around what looks like postwar Warsaw, blowing up tanks and such while various paramilitary-ish guys fight in the background. Dove stops exactly one altercation by taking one guy’s gun and telling them both to “scram.” Apparently very disturbed by the obviously gay man in the blue and white uniform, they run away. The two sides are clarified as Brownshirts vs. Camos, and the Camos have the robot.
11:22: Wonder Woman flies up, grabs the robot by a leg, and throws it into a building. Where was she in the last episode, anyway? Getting her nails done? And I changed my mind, by the way. I think she strode into a Marvel comic, beat up Rogue and took her powers. Supergirl is now whimpering in a coma somewhere, and good riddance.
11:38: “There’s no one inside that thing! How do you fight that?” says Hawk, uncomfortable with destroying something that isn’t manned by a killable human being. I leave to your imagination Wonder Woman’s answer.
11:50: Ouch, swatted with a tank. But they’re still alive, though both are too stunned to move out of the way of the robot as it lifts the tank above its head, preparing to crush them. Then the screen goes dark, where a commercial break would be if this were on TV. I’m guessing it will light up again in time to show them jump up and run rapidly to one side, thus solving their terrible dilemma.
12:10: Hah. Wonder Woman grabs Hawk and scoots them both out of the way. He was too dumb to figure that one out on his own. He looks mildly nauseated that he’s being held by a woman. But then, we’ve already established that he’s gay.
12:13: And now she’s grabbed both of them and taken off into the air to avoid a thrown object. “Hey!” says Dove, who would rather be crushed by a tank than rescued by a girl.
12:30: Wonder Woman drops them on a hilltop, where argument ensues. Hawk is angry that she pulled them “right out of battle,” while Dove points out that she saved their lives. Wonder Woman argues that they were having no effect on the robot, so there was no point in continuing. I don’t think she knows she’s in a superhero cartoon, do you? Next she’ll be trying to use logic.
13:51: Ares demonstrates his godhood by leaning forward at a physically impossible angle to poke a finger at the Camo leader’s chest. Camo Leader Guy doesn’t appreciate being repeatedly spit on by Ares. (I’m not kidding, there’s actual animated saliva going on.) Ares makes with the villain armor and the menacing remarks.
14:45: Wonder Woman pops in to see Hephaestus, who wants to talk about what a nice figure her Mom had when he made her the armor Wonder Woman is now wearing. Hephaestus says each of his creations has an Achilles heel, “so no one gets too powerful.” Even gods have a use for engineered redundancy. I am very amused by his statement that “only Zeus is perfect.” Apparently Hephaestus doesn’t know ol’ Zeus too well.
15:50: I think he just said she was fat. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
16:02: Dove apologizes to a sentry for rendering him unconscious by… um… I’m not sure exactly. He didn’t hit him in the head, and he wasn’t totally covering his mouth and nose, and it took like five seconds. Maybe people from Kosnia can’t hold their breath for more than two, or doves actually have some kind of poison gas attack of which I’m unaware. I’m pretty sure most doves can’t break guns in half or move at super speed, either. See, this is why I never read D.C. Comics.
16:30: Camo Leader Guy turns out to be Ares in disguise, to Dove’s surprise. Ares sarcastically promises him “Eternal peace – after I’m done with you, that is.” Dove likes forceful men and is no doubt disinclined to resist.
16:40: The screen goes black for about five seconds. I guess this was another commercial break moment, or we’re supposed to be imagining what Ares is doing to Dove.
16:57: Whoops, I guess Hawk just said he and Dove are brothers. Hawk is taking the approach of tying up the other side’s leader and hauling him off over one shoulder like a potato sack. This is foiled by the sudden explosions from outside.
17:17: Whoa, RPGs have less of a kick than you’d think.
17:28: Now Dove is strapped spreadeagled to the front of the robot. That Ares. Kinky.
17:40: Hawk freaks out and charges to his brother’s rescue, then tries to pry the robot’s head off. Ares strolls along casually batting aside guys with guns, none of whom is smart enough to aim for his head. The robot tosses Hawk into a tree. Funny, I don’t remember a sturdy oak being there on the bare, scrubby battlefield in the last scene.
18:18: More wrist deflection by Wonder Woman. Nobody tries aiming for her kneecaps, either. The Annihilator wades into the Brownshirt lines, deflecting many bullets. The no doubt numerous fatalities due to ricochet are not shown.
18:45: Hawk bats the robot with the tree. Ha ha. Another tank is thrown in retaliation. Where did these supposed paramilitary guys even get this many tanks? Are they selling drugs to raise money?
19:20: Dove rescues the Brownshirt leader from getting squished by the robot. He holds him in his arms briefly, but decides he’s not into older men. Brownshirt mutters something unintelligible – the men are toothsome? The gents can talk some? Your buns are awesome? – and passes out or dies. Dove looks understandably puzzled and speeds off.
19:40: “I don’t take orders from women!”
Wonder Woman almost pulps a sexist Brownshirt before realizing the Annihilator is fueled by rage in its environment. No doubt quickly organizing a singalong will cure the longstanding grudges of this Balkanized little republic that’s been at war with itself for probably hundreds of years.
20:25: This is actually pretty cool. Dove is facing down the robot without attacking it, since he’s the only non-angry one here. Wonder Woman restrains Hawk from trying to rescue his brother, taking another opportunity to grab hold of the big lug. “Doonnnnn!” You know, I really think they actually ARE a couple, and the whole brothers thing is just a weak cover story. They look nothing alike.
21:00: The Brownshirts put down their weapons, and the robot shuts down before it gets a chance to squish Dove. Wonder Woman reluctantly releases Hawk.
21:12: “Sometimes it takes more strength NOT to fight,” Wonder Woman says, in case we weren’t already concussed from being beaten about the head with this episode’s message. This is sort of like Marvel’s Bruce Banner preaching the value of self control. Not that unlikely, but still odd.
21:20: Ares stomps out from wherever it is he’s been hiding and berates everyone for not fighting each other. Wonder Woman informs him that he has lost, and he takes her word for it. After all, he’s just a god. What does he know? He vanishes in a nifty flame effect after promising to show up wherever there’s ignorance and prejudice. Wonder Woman watches smugly, secure in the knowledge that he will be stuck in trailer parks and corporate boardrooms for the rest of his days.
21:56: Dove tries to rub it in, but Hawk is having none of it. After all, Dove and Dove would make a pretty stupid superhero team name. The Brownshirts and Camos make an uneasy truce which will no doubt last until somebody insults somebody’s sister or runs over somebody else’s goat. Credits roll to triumphant guitars blaring. Little did I realize that Jonn’s last name is J’onnz.
Episode 3: Kids’ Stuff
00:01: Floating woman with giant magenta sleeves and a gold mask goes drifting through an extremely dark ruin on some random planet somewhere. Or it could be under the ocean. There’s no way to tell. She is accompanied by her son, who looks about 10 and is dressed like Little Lord Fauntleroy in blue. The kid complains about his Mom not letting him grow up, and she says it’s because she wants him to be young when she gives him his kingdom.
00:47: “It’s the Amulet of First Magic, the source of all earthly sorcery!”
That’s almost as creative a name as the Sports Bar. Looks like they have to take the glowing pink amulet from the Lovecraftian statue. Little Lord Fauntleroy climbs up to retrieve it as Mom makes the statue open its fist; the kid’s name seems to be Mordred.
1:19: Mordred is reluctant to give up the amulet. Mom tries to take it by force, and the little tyke zaps himself into more appropriate villainous armor and headdress and easily fights her off. He then announces he doesn’t want to see anyone older than him ever again. Mom vanishes in a puff of black dust as a pink dome of magic expands outwards. Oh, no. This isn’t going to be like that one Star Trek: TNG episode, is it?
02:45: Meanwhile, Superman and Wonder Woman are fighting a beasty-type guy and a leopard woman who is definitely naked and has a freaky chest that is lighter than the rest of her body. Batman and Green Lantern take down a monocled cyborg and a lizard man, and Lantern announces, “That’s a wrap!” as the subdued villains are tied up. This joke never seems to get old for cartoon writers. I suppose that arguably their target audience won’t have heard it nearly as many times as I have. The Pink Wave takes out heroes and villains alike, and it’s commercial/theme song time.
05:00: All the grownups are on floating rocks against a flat white background with red and white swirls. Looks like they are trapped in some misbegotten Jackson Pollock/Salvador Dali collaboration. The heroes and villains are marooned together. Beasty-guy is sucking his thumb while Mr. Monocle is taking it stoically. Green Lantern admonishes the panicky lizard man to “calm down – we’re probably just in another dimension.” Morgan Le Fay, the floating mask woman, comes along to confirm this and provide the other necessary expositional bits regarding the amulet, Mordred, how she used to bathe him, etc. Superman looks appalled in the background.
06:30: Darn it, it IS going to be like the Star Trek episode. Morgan says that the only way to get back into the world and stop Mordred is to not be adults. The heroes reluctantly agree, and Morgan says some magic words that the cop-out subtitles refuse to render. Sounds like “Manoogu sitharoth kibboth tanaboo… Kathuta!” Seriously, it’s just that awkward. Wasn’t it Marvel that came up with that Shazam character?
07:30: Mordred shows up to terrorize some kiddies at a theme park and turn everything into Spiky Goth Land. Morgan’s going to regret letting him listen to grownup music all those millenia. The kiddie heroes appear behind the group he’s leading off toward his throne. I agree heartily with Batman when he says, “This better be temporary.” Green Lantern makes himself some truly dorky-looking glasses, since “I wore glasses as a kid. Guess I need them again.” I wish I’d had the kind of nearsightedness that goes away over time.
08:40: Mordred is granting wishes by handing out robot toys and a live cow. I know that’s what I always wished for when I was seven. Not ponies or turning into a fairy/ballerina or anything. Live cows.
09:10: “What are YOU laughing at, precious?” growls MiniBat. He doesn’t like Mordred calling them Justice Babies. Mordred turns the robot toys gigantic. Fight scene ensues. The JLA does the same thing as usual, only somewhat shorter; Wonder Woman can even deflect giant robot spears with those wrist bands. Someday someone is going to be smart enough to pry those off her and the tight shiny boot will be on the other foot.
11:27: Mordred finally freezes our heroes and drops them into a pit with a force field over it. MiniSupes demonstrates that he can’t get through it,+ and then a big portcullis on one side of their dark stone cell starts to open. In my head I hear C-3PO saying, “Oh, no! The Rancor!”
11:59: It’s not the Rancor. It’s a chibi Etrigan. Absolutely hilarious. In contrast to the others, he appears to be a toddler. He manages to beat down MiniSupes – lot of that going around – and climb out of the energy playpen Green Lantern makes for him, only to be foiled by MiniWonderWoman speaking in a firm voice. “Bad, bad Etrigan!” She holds the baby demon and burps him.
13:06: Dirty diaper joke. I’d say that gets old, too, but judging by film content in certain genres, apparently it doesn’t.
13:31: Now the kids are playing with wooden swords, putting a suit of armor through the guillotine, and playing tag. How terrifyingly delinquent they’ve become. “That’s what I call fun!” Mordred gloats. Apparently his mother never let him have a PSP.
13:48: “I’m the kid with laser beams coming out of his eyes.” It’s entirely possible that line will never be surpassed. I am left to wonder if it’s some sort of Army of Darkness reference that the target audience can’t possibly be expected to understand.
14:22: MiniWonderWoman cows all the kids into leaving Spiky Goth Land by threatening to tell their Moms. For some reason it works, although if the show is contemporary, their parents are Baby Boomers and the worst they’re probably looking at is an “I’m very disappointed” lecture and brief revocation of TV privileges. Maybe nagging is a new super power she has.
15:20: MiniWW likes MiniBat. Awww. MiniSupes doesn’t get it, and MiniGL twits him for being dense. This doesn’t strike me as all that different from their adult behavior, really.
16:10: Attempt to snitch the amulet from sleeping Mordred fails, of course, since we’re only 16 or so minutes into the episode. Ensuing violence is somewhat more disturbing when it’s being done by child versions of the characters. MiniSupes is taking an odd amount of punishment. Maybe I was too hard on SuperBimbo in Episode I and both their powers have been revised downwards to keep them from being so, hm, super.
16:36: Unexpected guitar chords as MiniGL makes a hoverboard with his ring. Because fighting off a giant warlock with eyeball lasers may be cool, but glowing green hoverboards are really cool.
16:46: Now-giant Mordred has the Warcraft III priest eye thing going on. Only pink. Why’d they choose that color for the amulet, anyway? Now he’s brought some dragon statues to life to chase after our heroes, who have faced numerous supervillains, world-eating giants, etc., but are frightened by giant flying lizards. Okay, then.
17:14: Guitargasm goes on through fairly boring airborne chase/fight scene.
17:29: And now there are synthesizers. Back, back to the eighties again! At least it’s not like the new X-men cartoons, where they try to indicate coolness by using things that went out back in the nineties and tired gangster jokes.
17:43: The miniJLA manages to lock giant Mordred out of his own spiky castle. MiniGL announces that he has a plan, confirming that even when they are tiny he is the only one with any critical thinking skills.
18:06: Lantern has made a giant green robot for himself. Mordred comes up with some armor that is spiky but still makes him look even more like a girl. He can’t win.
18:52: Baby Etrigan saves the day by taking a chomp out of the now-giant amulet.
19:25: Amulet’s gone, but now Mordred claims he has absorbed “too much of the amulet’s power” for that to work. Suuuure. He does generate a pretty neat-looking sword, though.
19:53: The MiniJLA expresses scorn and manages to keep their arms folded while still being held upside down, presumably by Mordred’s telekinesis. Heh.
19:20: “Face it, Precious.” Okay, it’s starting to disturb me that miniBat calls him that. Really. It seems to bother Mordred, too. It works, though – Mordred tries to turn himself into an adult while Baby Etrigan looks on and claps his little demon paws with glee. He’s not bothered one bit by the whole upside-down thing.
20:34: Grownup Mordred looks even girlier than he did as a kid, despite his bulging pectorals. This of course shoots him right back into Pollock/Dali land with all the other grownups. Morgan chides him as the world returns to normal, then returns the JLA to their normal sizes.
21:38: Which means Wonder Woman finds herself holding a grownup Etrigan. “Mommy,” leers the yellow demon. Probably the only laugh I’ve gotten out of this one that was intended by the writers.
21:50: “My spell gave him eternal youth, but now that he’s broken it, all he has is eternal life.” And gee, we all know how terrible that would be compared to being stuck as a child for all eternity. There’s an actual poignant moment as Batman watches the children with their parents and remarks that he hasn’t been a kid since he was eight. Etrigan seems oddly short. I’m guessing Jason Blood is going to be very embarrassed when he gets out again.
22:30: Oh, I get it. Mordred gets to be old for all eternity. Now he’s a drooling semi-corpse. Gross. I wonder what Morgan looks like under that mask?
Well, that concludes my viewing of all three episodes on this disc. See, this is why I never do Mutant Viewings – it took me around four hours cumulative to do sixty-six minutes of content. At this rate it would take me approximately until the end of time to do something like the LOTR trilogy, assuming I didn’t do the extended version and never stopped for snacks. And a Mutant cannot live without snacks. It can’t be done.