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Crisis: 22300 Miles Above the Earth!
Original Airdate - October 28th, 2011
The JLI and JSA are at a reunion party when Batman is kidnapped by Ra’s Al Ghul.

Written by Steven Melching
Directed by Michael Goguen
Review by Andrew
Media by The World's Finest

Creator Q & A with Producer James Tucker

The World's Finest: First up – the teaser. Batman is the victim of a comedy roast from his deadliest enemies. Can you expand upon your inspiration for this teaser, and the inclusion of comedian Jeffery Ross? Would you have liked to have done an entire episode dedicated to...roasting Batman?

James Tucker:
I believe Michael Jelenic wanted to do the teaser that took place at a Roast. I liked the idea but my original concept was to make it more like the old Dean Martin Roasts that I watched as a kid. I really hadn’t watched the current version of this that’s waaaay more risque on cable TV. Anyway, Michael Goguen, the director of this episode, kind of fused the old and new roasts into what was in the episode. We ended up with Jeffery Ross as the host because, fortunately, he was friends with John DiMaggio! It worked out great, and Jeffery even brought some of his own jokes to pepper his routine with. I’m not sure that anyone would want a whole episode dedicated to Batman getting roasted however. At least, I know I wouldn’t.

WF: To the episode itself, it features the JLI and the JSA coming together...but not exactly seeing eye to eye. There seems to be a generation gap between the two group of heroes. An you expand upon this approach used, the inability for the two groups to properly get along?

We wanted to do a JLI/JSA team-up from the first season but there never seemed to be a good place for it since we had to introduce both groups in separate episodes for a team up to make any sense. The idea of using the setting a party going wrong really appealed to us because we got to play up the idea that the JSA doesn’t really like this new League made up of loose cannons. It also offered an opportunity to touch on the comparisons to the original Justice League that disbanded for reasons we’ve never touched on. It wasn’t the typical JL/JSA story I envisioned in the earlier seasons but I think this ended up being a lot more fun overall.

WF: As a semi-follow-up to the first question, is it safe to say that some of this episode is influenced by the annual JSA/JLA crossovers that DC Comics used to publish?

Yes, I wanted it to be reminiscent of those old Justice League comics where once a year, the Justice League and the Justice Society met and had a mixer and something always went wrong and they’d have to join forces to face some ‘crisis.’ But in this case we thought that the ‘crisis’ would be the mixer itself, not some actual universe threatening event. I always looked forward to those issues where the JLA and the JSA teamed up but the part that always interested me wasn’t the actual adventure but the small talk that would take place at the beginning of the story when the guests arrive and the heroes would talk shop so that’s a lot of what the episode was about and about the JSA not approving of this new version of the Justice League. We solved the problem of not having enough action in it by cross cutting to Batman on a life threatening adventure, but trying to get to the party in time.

WF: Is there any era specifically that you drew the most influence from for the JSA? Are there any JSA stories you wish you had the opportunity to touch upon for the series?

The era I’m most familiar with is of course the version I was introduced to as a kid reading comics. So, whatever the line up was during the bronze age of DC Comics is what I gravitate toward. Of course, because in our series, there is no ‘Earth 2’, we had to make compromises along the way as we were setting up both groups. But I liked the idea that, in our series, Batman and Superman weren’t the first superheroes, but the Justice Society existed before both of them. I liked the idea of the current heroes having been mentored by older heroes. There aren’t any actual JSA stories that spring to mind that I’d like to adapt though. It’s the concept of the JSA that seemed to attract me more than any of their actual adventures, though it would have been nice to have a story pitting them against more of their rogues like , Vandal Savage, Brain Wave, and the Injustice Society.

WF: This episode also brings back Ra’s Al Ghul to the series, and he gets a bit of a spotlight (including a surprising moment or two). Can you run us through the Batman: The Brave and The Bold interpretation of Ra’s al Ghul and how he may differ from other version we’ve seen in the past?

There isn’t really much difference between our show’s version of Ra’s and any other version really. Same character, just made more of a mustache twirling villain in our show than in other interpretations. I liked the idea of pushing his connections as basically Batman’s version of a James Bond villain. To me, he works best as the Fu Manchu/Dr. No/Goldfinger type villain he started out as. He doesn’t really fit in with any of Batman’s other villains. So we played up the Bond-like elements a lot in this episode from the ski chase at the beginning to the use of a John Barry-inspired score. I do wish we had at least one Lazarus Pit sequence in the series. Seeing Ra’s go insane with power is always fun!

WF: As per always, we bring this Q & A to a close with the standard capper – why should fans check out this new episode on Friday?

Fans can expect the return of both the JSA and Ra’s al Ghul, as well as the first ever appearance on the series of the Alan Scott Green Lantern. That should be enough to get anyone inspired to watch!

As three seasons have come, and nearly completely gone, Brave and the Bold has managed to touch on issues that manage to walk a fine line between kid-friendly and adult-entertaining. It’s a difficult median to straddle, but the exceptional writers that have worked on this show have managed it well. However, this teaser slightly falters on its path in a peculiar way. Batman, having apparently been captured by a horde of villainy, finds himself in a pun-itive position as his galleria of rogues decide to punish him for his crime-fighting prowess by roasting him not only alive, but live, as well. Guest starring one of the stock comedians for Comedy Central’s Roast, Jeffrey Ross, the villains (and guest) take their witty potshots at the Dark Knight as he spins above a fiery pit. For the most part it’s a decent teaser, though the jokes unfortunately aren’t all that original, especially Ross’ observational punchlines. The better parts of the teaser scenario are between Grundy not being able to coherently speak his lines, and the elbow-poking to “Batman & Robin” with Mr. Freeze’s painful ice puns. What I find most strange about this teaser, previously implied by the peculiarity, is that Jeffrey Ross’ guest spot in this episode just seems so random. Even though adults do watch and enjoy Brave and the Bold, it seems a strange venue in which to allude to the Comedy Central Roasts which are far, far, far, far, far from kid-friendly. It’s a little odd.

Although the teaser was only moderately enjoyable, the main story of the episode more than makes up for it. The JLI has been a highly enjoyable aspect of season 3 since its introduction, so it’s great anyway that this further involves the quirky team. However, it also brings in the season 2-favored yet antiquated team, the JSA, to meet the new League. Unfortunately, this does also bring a low point for the episode where the JSA isn’t impressed with the JLI, thinking them inferior - especially to the ‘real’ Justice League. Which, honestly, feels a bit of a pointless way to go given that the only glimpse of the other League was a still frame that was only created to vaguely show that, yes, Virgina, there is a Superman. And a Wonder Woman, for that matter, but I digress. While it’s obvious that a rivalry can allow for conflict to base a story around or provide filler for the story, it creates too much of a forced drama in this sort of setting. I suppose it is somewhat in a bizarre continuity, given that there was a similar rivalry between Black Canary and Batman spawning from their past training with the JSA.

Furthermore, it’s a little disappointing that they would hold out on bringing back Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins for mere cutaways moments to juxtapose the stand-still pace of the awkward meeting between the JLI and JSA. Granted, it does eventually give them all something to do, but it feels a little bit of a waste.

Overall, it’s not as great of an episode as it should have been with both the teaser and the main story having their own disappointing aspects, but they both still manage to be more enjoyable than disappointing. The main story especially manages to fit in several attributes that are redeeming to the lesser points, notably the usage of Alan Scott: the original Green Lantern, and then getting to see him paired with a modern GL (Guy Gardner). He was sorely missing in previous JSA features, especially “The Golden Age of Justice!” where he absolutely should have been shown. Plus, they even managed to fit in Martian Manhunter’s cookie addiction, though it was saddening that they were plain cookies rather than Oreos. Oh well. Definitely a Recommended episode!

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