The World's Finest Presents

Twilight

Episode #27 & 28 - Twilight Part 1 & 2
Original Airdate - July 5th 2003 -Second Season Premiere

When Brainiac threatens to destroy Apokolips, Darkseid turns to the Justice League for help. Superman does not trust his old foe, but his fellow superheroes convince the Man of Steel to come to Darkseid's defense. Meanwhile, Darkseid's longtime enemies on neighboring planet New Genesis, High Father and Orion, believe Darkseid may be fooling the Justice League.

Media by Bird Boy
Pans by Borg4of3
Review by Steel
Credits:
Written by Rich Fogel & Bruce Timm
Directed by Dan Riba
Music by Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuisition and Lolita Ritamanis
Animation by Koko Enterprise Co., LTD.

Voices:
Maria Canals as Hawkgirl
Kevin Conroy as Batman
Carl Lumby as J'onn J'onzz
George Newbern as Superman
Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman
Michael Ironside as Darkseid
Corey Burton as Brainiac
Ron Perlman as Orion
Rene Auberjonois as Desaad
Michael Dorn as Kalibak
Mitchell Ryan as Highfather
Rob Paulsen as Lightray
Tara Strong as Sera
Screen Grabs, Part 1






Pans, Part 1



Sound Clips, Part 1
"Cry me a River" (MP3, 240kb)

Screen Grabs, Part 2








Pans, Part 2




Sound Clips, Part 2
"Go to--" (MP3, 304kb)
Review

Unfortunately, I was out of town when "Twilight" aired and my review is based on my memory of the episode from a few days ago, so it won't be nearly as thorough as I had originally hoped.

Anyway, this episode was absolutely astounding; easily blowing the vast majority of the first season of Justice League out of the water. From a coherent and exciting plot to solid character portrayal and definition, "Twilight" is one of the best Justice League episodes yet.

Much of the excitement that I received from "Twilight" came from the strong attention paid to continuity. Continuity with the previous shows supplemented and supported the episode without overpowering it. The events that had transpired in "Legacy" and "Apokolips...Now" were certainly not forgotten, but the plot simply used them as a device to further the tale rather than dwelling on it excessively. The references to the previous episodes were skillfully handled, with small exchanges and bits of dialogue explaining previous events in the context of the current ones so everything could be explained without getting boring or redundant for those who had the fortune of seeing some of the other episodes featuring Kirby's Fourth World from Superman: The Animated Series. Airing "Apokolops...Now!" and "Legacy" was a stroke of genius, and I'm glad that the folks at Cartoon Network capitalized on those episodes to make an event out of it.

The cameos of Steppenwolf, Orion, and Highfather at the beginning of the episode were not only very cool but meshed well to convey a sense of the scope of the large intergalactic conflict that the League was flung into. Thankfully, neither Darkseid nor Braniac were diminished as a result of their previous defeats (or possibly just setbacks) and Darkseid was his same old menacing self, largely due to the voice talents of Michael Ironside who reprised the role. He would never enlist the aid of Superman unless there was something in it for him, and its nice to see that his ambitions for the anti-life equation have not diminished. His double-cross of both Superman and Braniac was expected, but it was handled well so that not all the characters should have realized it until it happened.

Superman finally has passion again, and despite the fact that he was still raging over his previous insults, it was nice to see him act like a human again. I never cared about "power levels", and the fact that Superman was perpetually beat around in Season One was not nearly as much of a concern to me as how the series treated Superman as a character. In fact, I would have been perfectly happy if Darkseid had beaten down Superman again as long as Supes started acting believable and interesting again (which definitely was the case). In Superman: The Animated Series a large part of the appeal of his character came from the fact that he was just like any other feeling human being; he just had super powers and used them to help people out. This approach allowed for interesting stories to be told without using ultra-powerful villains and extended fight scenes, and it was great to see Superman emoting again rather than dully spouting "boy-scout-isms" and doing not much more other than "being there" like in Season One. George Newburn took a lot of criticism during Season One for the way that he delivered Superman's dialogue, and while there was room for improvement I felt that the problem actually could be attributed to the corny and weak dialogue that he was given. Newburn did a hell of a job with "Twilight", and the last line that he gave to Batman was fantastic. I could feel the tension and see flashbacks to the "World's Finest" episodes without even trying. Oh yeah, getting rid of the wrinkles was a good idea too.

Speaking of Batman, I found it sort of weird that he was involved in interstellar conflicts of this nature, but his role of taking an opposite position to Superman was appropriate. Despite my great love for the character, it was nice to see that he wasn't omniscient or all-powerful for once and that he was partially wrong as well. I don't think either Superman or Batman was completely in the right. Superman was certainly (understandably) acting rather childish and vindictive, but Batman should have heeded Superman's advice regarding the nature of Darkseid and what he may have tried to pull. Overall, his experiences and portrayal in outer space could have potentially gone far worse, and for that I am thankful.

It was also nice to *finally* see Hawkgirl get some much-needed development. I'm going to refrain from commenting further on it partially because I don't remember and partially because I want to wait and see where they are going with this, but it was most definitely an interesting development.

As far as aesthetics and music are concerned, the score was also improved from the first season. While still not as good as BTAS or STAS, I loved the hints at the New Gods theme, the Apokolips/Darkseid theme, the STAS theme, and the Brainiac theme. Little details like that are nice touches that further cement it into the universe of the previous animated series, and I think I'm starting to accept this show as another part of the large unit of DC Animated shows. I'm no animation expert, but the blurring was getting annoying at places. The computerized animation, on the other hand, finally felt like it was in place with the rest of the cartoon and was a large contributor to the great "intergalactic space battle" mood that was conveyed in the episode's opening.

Overall, it was a great way to start off the second season of JL. Hopefully these guys can keep it up, because "Twilight" was absolutely amazing. I'm not sure if I would have liked it as much if I didn't have as strong of an emotional attachment to Kirby's Fourth World characters and the previous animated shows, but it was still an admirable feat of storytelling.

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