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The World's Finest Presents


Episode #20 - Clash
Original Airdate - June 11th, 2005

The world’s mightiest mortal, Captain Marvel, joins the Justice League but even his power may not be enough to foil Lex Luthor’s latest plot.

Reviews by Bird Boy, Simple Simon
Media by Bird Boy
Story by Dwayne McDuffie
Teleplay by J.M. Dematteis
Directed by Dan Riba
Music by Kristopher Carter
Animation by Dong Woo Animation

George Newbern as Superman
Kevin Conroy as Batman
Carl Lumbly as J'onn J'onzz
Jerry O'Connell as Captain Marvel
Shane Haboucha as Billy Batson
Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor
Dana Delaney as Lois Lane
Robert Foxworth as Hamilton
John C. McGinley as The Atom
Lisa Edelstein as Marcy
Jeremy Piven as Elongated Man

Screen Grabs


Sound Clips
"Holy moley." (MP3, 155kb)
"I thought I was the boyscout?" (MP3, 134kb)
"What do these guys want again?" (MP3, 70kb)

Review (Bird Boy): Fans have been clamoring for a Captain Marvel appearance since Justice League started and this is our first full look at him, not only in design, but in action. He really is the “big red cheese” as fans call him, spouting one-liners that make him even more of a boy scout than Superman (a fact which Batman points out). It’s a really strong episode, both in animation and acting and it all culminates by the revelation of a (once again) evil Lex Luthor and Captain Marvel’s speech to the Justice League at the end.

The big fight between Captain Marvel and Superman in this is amazing. The sheer amount of collateral damage that occurs to Luthor’s new ‘Lexor City’ is jaw-dropping. Windows shatter and buildings collapse a lot in here; I was surprised by the amount they got away with, but then again this is Justice League Unlimited—they seem to push limits constantly in this show.

This was also the first episode of Justice League Unlimited that I’ve watched with the volume turned up. While I don’t have the luxury of a surround sound system yet, I did play it on two very large stereo speakers—and the thuds and booms that came from the speakers during the big clash between Captain Marvel and Superman was, simply put, awesome. So in addition to an episode that looked good, it also sounded amazing.

One of the highlights of the episode was the speech Captain Marvel gave the Justice League at the end of the episode. It really brought the last season of Justice League Unlimited around, as he focused on how much the League has changed as heroes. No longer happy to just do the good fight, they seem jaded—and to those complaining about how much of a stubborn turd Superman was, they likely agreed with Captain Marvel.
In addition, there was more on the Luthor and Wahler front: the two were revealed to be in “cahoots”, with Luthor wanting nothing more than to humiliate Superman, it seems. Great stuff between the two at the end.

Overall a great episode that shouldn’t be missed; also, if at all possible—play it loud.

Review (Simple Simon): This may sound rather obvious, but it really pays to watch an episode all the way through before passing judgment on it. When I caught “Clash” initially during its Canadian premiere, I came in at the halfway point of the episode (when Superman and Batman are investigating Hamilton’s break-in). I watched till the end, and apart from the fantastic fight between Superman and Captain Marvel, things felt pretty mundane. Well-executed, but nothing overly surprising or shocking.

Then I caught the first half on its repeat airing at midnight, and that changed everything.

You’d think the latter half of the episode would be where the good stuff is. Not in this case. I still think the actual plot of “Clash” is pretty standard: Two superheroes don’t see eye-to-eye and a big fight ensues, all part of Lex Luthor’s plan to discredit Superman. But it’s the character moments in the first half that really bring out the story, as Captain Marvel’s refreshing boyish innocence is contrasted against Superman’s jaded experience. Marvel, more than any other Leaguer, is the perfect audience-identification character: he reacts like we’d react to being in a space station filled with superheroes, high-fiving Captain Atom and watching Shining Knight and Vigilante share a flirty game of chess (Com’on, new armor? Dressing to impress eh). Jerry O’Connell really sells the genuine goodness of his character, and his moments in the first half enhance the points made in his speech at the end, as well as add emotional weight to the episode’s fight scene.

And what a fight scene. Dan Riba has taken some criticism for his staging of action sequences after Joaquim Dos Santos really raised the bar in “Cat and the Canary,” but here he presents the brutal pummeling between two DC juggernauts exactly the way you’d want it to look. Dynamic camera angles and painful punches abound. I especially liked one bit where buildings are coming down as Superman beats up Marvel in mid-air; it’s a subtle touch, but usually the carnage dissipates after the initial blow, whereas it lingers here for a bit longer. Of course such a fight is only possible because the script dictates it so; in any logical world, the Watchtower would’ve sent down help via teleporter to prevent needless property damage between two good guys. Still, the spectacle and fun of the fight outweigh the plot holes.

There’s a lot of voice cameos to love in this one, as John C. McGinley, Lisa Edelstein, and Dana Delany all return to reprise their roles for a few brief lines. Also notable is Jeremy Piven in his third supporting appearance as Elongated Man. Honestly, the guy’s shown up thrice already and never as a main star. I hope the creative staff rewards him with a meatier role next season.

“Clash” is another outstanding episode in JLU’s season 2 lineup. Highly recommended.

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