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The World's Finest Presents

A Knight In Shadows

Episode #20 - A Knight of Shadows, Part 1
Original Airdate - September 20th, 2002

Morgaine le Faye is an ancient sorceress who is assisted by the demon Etrigan in her quest for the legendary Sorcerer's Stone. The Justice League must stop Morgaine le Faye before she captures this object that would give her the power to rule the world.

Episode #21 - A Knight of Shadows, Part 2
Original Airdate - September 27th, 2002

The Justice League team up with a demon to prevent the evil Morgaine le Faye from finishing her quest to find the Sorcerer's Stone - a legendary object that greats great power.

Media by Bird Boy
Review by Bleu Unicorn
Written by Keith Damron
Directed by Butch Lukic
Music by Michael McCuistion
Animation by Koko Enterprise Co., LTD.

Kevin Conroy as Batman
Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman
Carl Lumbly as J'onn J'onzz
Michael Rosenbaum as Flash
Michael T. Weiss as Jason Blood/Etrigan
Oliva D'abo as Morgaine Le Fay
Pam Grier as My' ria 'h
Soren Fulton as Mordred
W. Morgan Shepphard as Merlin
Dave Thomas as Harv Hickman
Michael Gough as Professor Moss
Jim Meskimen as Knight
Cam Clarke as Paramedic
Jim Wise as Bouncer
Screen Grabs, Part 1

Pans, Part 1

Screen Grabs, Part 2

Pans, Part 2


Centuries ago, Jason Blood allied himself with Morgaine le Faye, helping her ransack King Arthur's castle. For his treachery, the wizard Merlin cursed him, turning him into Etrigan, the Demon. Since then he has been forced to bear the eternal weight of hunting Morgaine, who's sole desire is to make due on her promise to give her son Mordred his own kingdom.

After Morgaine's magically animated knights attack Batman and Jason, Etrigan reveals her plan to use the fabled Philosopher's Stone to take over the world. Our heroes quickly jump into action to try to find the Stone before Morgaine, but not before J'onn succumbs to her trickery. In the end, Morgaine's mind control takes over - and J'onn himself brings her the Stone, hoping she will make good on her promise to restore Mars.

Where "Secret Origins" gave us the background story of the Martian Manhunter, this episode arc goes much deeper into his personal feelings and inner turmoil. Etrigan's warnings that Morgaine would dangle a person's deepest desires in front of one's face go unheard, but they are all too true. For a man who has lived completely alone for over 500 years, it was almost heart wrenching to watch the agony J'onn goes through when he realizes the small glimpses of his family are completely illusions, conjured by Morgaine. The desire to be with his loved ones is so great that his usually stoic demeanor is thrown aside and he explodes physically a number of times. Etrigan, who's own approach to the situation almost asks for the attacks, seems to find J'onn's desire to be with his loved ones as a weakness - even going so far as to tell the other Leaguers that he is "tainted" and "untrustworthy."

The concept of being without one's loved ones is used throughout this episode, besides focusing on J'onn himself. The scene where J'onn tells Batman that no one can understand how it feels to never be able to see one's loved ones again certainly hit home to Batman, and anyone familiar with Bruce Wayne's past, though it is completely over J'onn's head. Then, at the very end when Jason admits the error of Etrigan's ways, apologizing for his own brashness and insensitivity. After witnessing the tragic events that Jason's undergone, one easily can see how much he truly sympathizes for the Martian. I would have liked to see Superman's input on all of this, but as he was absent from this episode, that did not occur. However, I am sure he is yet another example of this concept, as evidenced in numerous other instances.

Morgaine's character, while a very formidable and interesting villain, does deviate quite a bit from her Arthurian roots. While this may sound strange, it actually works very well in this story's context. Jason gave up everything for her - and she turns around and backstabs him with the worst betrayal. Etrigan's obsession with making her pay for her evil ways, while understandable in his character, was almost irritating at times. His constant harping over J'onn was at times both insensitive and almost cruel - not to mention overly harsh, but still very consistent. His lack of rhyming was a letdown, but after careful thought, I came to the realization that I would rather have a non-rhyming Etrigan and keep the fantastic fighting scenes, than the other way around.

Speaking of the fighting, this episode contains some of the best of the lot. For once we get a glimpse of some of Martian Manhunter's other powers, instead of just phasing through stuff and shape shifting. During his battle scene with Etrigan, aside from some wonderful dialogue, J'onn not only petrifies himself, but also exhibited a "Blob" like ability.

I definitely think that the best part of this episode arc was in the dialogue. Not only were there some terrific lines that fit the scenes perfectly, the timing itself of the lines was superb. J'onn's poignant pleas to Etrigan to give him the Philosopher's Stone really tug at the heart, for instance. The voice acting was at its very best in this episode, as well. Which seems odd to say, since I've grown so accustomed to the high level of the acting, but after viewing so many episodes where I felt even Conroy was off at times, its a pleasure to say this one hits the mark perfectly!

Going along with that is some excellent animation, definitely some of the better of the first season. The transformation scene in the beginning of Jason into the Demon looks marvelous and works so very well. In addition, the action scenes in both parts were quite possibly flawless. Flash's maelstrom was executed beautifully and really looked like super-speed, as apposed to him running fast in slow motion.

For an episode that really had its focus on emotion, some very memorable and comedic scenes were some of my favorite parts. Harv Hickman as an obvious parody of Hugh Hephner was hilarious and Flash's reaction to the mansion and the models was perfectly within character. Wonder Woman's reactions were also completely on par, showing her own distaste and impatience with the male population.

With such a glowing review, it is almost surprising that I have gripes. Granted they are few and far between, they are still mentionable. I'll start with a minor nitpick, as much as it pains me to do so, but Batman's overuse of his batarangs against Morgaine was literally laughable. Seriously, did he really think that would stop her, when Etrigan's magic couldn't? The story, while a superb one in my opinion, seemed a bit contrived, even for a mystical-based premise. Having Etrigan's creation revealed was a grand treat, but nothing is explained about Morgaine herself, or Mordred. I would have liked a bit more history or explanation of Morgaine's past and how she came about her mystic abilities (why does she wear that mask now?). My largest gripe would focus on Mordred. Etrigan clearly states he has pursued Morgaine for centuries, which would mean no one has been time traveling, so why is Mordred still a child after all this time? And were they in some kind of time-warp, since Morgaine had no idea what a computer was? Which seems inconsistent, since Mordred is clearly seen playing a video game.

Overall, the wait for this episode's premiere may have been agonizing, but I found it to be completely worth the length of time. It is one of the most balanced and character-driven episodes thus far. Unlike many of the other Justice League episodes before it, we get a more in-depth glimpse at a character, behind the superpowers and heroic deeds. It is a change I was glad to see and truly made this a memorable story arc.

Bonus Video

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