Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Matt Signal Advent Calendar 2015 Day 10: Justice League Unlimited "The Greatest Story Never Told"

Justice League Unlimited
Season 1, Episodes 7, “The Greatest Story Never Told,” 2004

Matt Says:

I can't think of a single Justice League Unlimited that might not have made this list. And it was hard to pick just one. But whereas so far I've picked mostly pretty heavy episodes for my entries on this advent calendar, I decided to go lighter with JLU. And so I present "The Greatest Story Never Told," and episode spotlighting one of DC Comics' most unsung heroes (at least in his own mind), and one of my favorites, Booster Gold.

It was rare that a show with as massive a cast as JLU would spend an episode entirely focused on just one hero. While others do pop up, including some really fun asides and moments with Elongated Man, this episode is really Booster's show. I love that, for all the apocalyptic sturm and drang, it's really a character piece, encapsulating Booster's entire heroic journey in a thirty minute cartoon. The Booster we see at the beginning is Booster at his most avaricious; he is a blowhard who wants to be a hero for fame and fortune. He even asks J'onn J'onzz what he's "pulling down, before taxes," which is a clever nod to a line from Tim Burton's first Batman movie.

Over the course of the episode, Booster has to step up and be a real hero. He's put on crowd control while most of the rest of the League is trying to stop Mordru from destroying all reality. This means Booster is the only hero available when the battle disrupts an experiment that two scientists are doing, turning one of them into a walking black hole that will eventually absorb all of Earth. So Booster sets out to stop it, initially for fame and fortune, and because the other scientist is an attractive woman, but along the way he delivers a baby, saves some people, and has a crisis on confidence when he realizes he is doing this for all the wrong reasons. In the end, he wins the day and when given the chance to brag and explain, he chooses to serve in silence. But he does get the girl, and he becomes a better hero and person for it. In a show where heroism is the central theme, this is a great example of what it means to become a real hero.

Some fun facts about the episode: Skeets, Booster's robot sidekick, is voiced by Billy West, who is best known for palling around with a robot as Fry on Futurama. He would reprise the role, as would Tom Everett Scott who was excellent as Booster, on Batman: The Brave and the Bold, making them two of the few characters who are voiced by the same actors in both the DC Animated Universe and Brave and the Bold. The episode is also one of the earliest writing credits for Andrew Kreisberg, who would go on to revolutionize superhero TV as writer and producer on Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow.

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