Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Matt Signal Advent Calendar 2015 Day 9: Justice League "Injustice for All"

Justice League
Season 1, Episodes 18&19, “Injustice for All,” 2002

Matt Says:

I love a story where a team of supervillains is assembled to fight a team of superheroes. Sure, it's awesome to watch Darkseid go toe to toe with the whole Justice League, but the Injustice Gang and Secret Society make for a more fun story. And while the first season of Justice League is notoriously uneven, I enjoy the heck out of the first supervillain team two-parter, "Injustice for All."

The central character of the story from the villain side of things is Lex Luthor, who transitions from the business suit Luthor of the 80s and 90s into a more traditional power suit wearing version of the character, thanks to blood poisoning caused by years of exposure to Kryptonite. This Luthor, very much a villain in the bold and obvious sense, is much more in line with the grand storytelling of Justice League. Everything was larger than life in the series, and making Luthor a more physical threat fits with the style of the show.

The assortment of villains in the team are a combination mostly unique to the cartoon. Luthor and Cheetah are traditional members. The Shade, Ultra-Humanite, and Solomon Grundy are better known as Justice Society villains. Star Sapphire and Copperhead aren't usually members of the team. And of course there's the Joker, who is often a member of the Injustice Gang, but never plays well with others. And can I say how much I love the Justice League design for Joker? It's closer to the Batman: The Animated Series version than the more simplified one from The New Batman Adventures, and the darker lips and eyes give him an extra air of sinister.

But for me, the real highlight is the second part, where Batman, captured by the Injustice Gang, spends the entire episode playing mind games with the entire team, playing one villain against the rest. It's a subtle plot for a show that, early on, was pretty ham-fisted, and it's hilarious top see Grundy and Humanite rolling around on the floor wrestling, and Batman using his affinity for cat-themed villainesses to help distract Cheetah and get the others to turn on her. I love it when Batman is the most clever guy in the room, and this is one of the best examples of it anywhere.

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