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The World's Finest Presents

Dead Reckoning

Episode #32 - Dead Reckoning
Original Airdate - February 18th, 2006

The ghost of a circus performer convinces Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman to help him retrieve the stolen souls of a mystic order of Monks.

Review by Stu
Media by Bird Boy
Credits:
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Directed by Dan Riba
Music by Lolita Ritmanis
Animation by D.R. Movie Co., LTD.

Voices:
Kevin Conroy as Batman
Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman
George Newbern as Superman, Bizarro
Raphael Sbarge as Deadman
Powers Boothe as Grodd
Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor
Juliet Landau as Tala
Michael Beach as Devil Ray
David Ogden Stiers as Solovar
Sab Shimono as Monk
Video

Screen Grabs











Pans


Sound Clips
"Neither did we." (MP3, 59kb)
"Obligatory." (MP3, 110kb)
"Next time..." (MP3, 423kb)


Review

Another new episode of JLU brings us a character weíve yet to see animated before now in Deadman. Itís great to see a lot of these obscure characters getting introduced into the show, and Iím glad the creative team seems to be doing a great job updating them for animation. Deadman himself proved to be a little out there even for a show with a cast as big as this.

I think it was an intelligent move having Batman already be aware of Brandís existence, as it saved a lot of time explaining his origin and allowed us to get on with the main story. Whilst Iím sure some will complain that Deadman didnít appear enough in the episode, I think he served his role perfectly. While I donít claim to be a big fan of the character, he was pretty cool. I was especially impressed with his design, particularly how well the red and black contrasted each other, and the excellent lighting effects that have been mostly hit and miss since Superman: The Animated Series ended all those years ago.

Iíll admit the voice didnít really fit the character too much, but nevertheless, it was a fine performance. The real fun began when Deadman entered other peopleís bodies and everyone adapted to his style of speaking. Kudos to George Newburn, he really worked hard in this one, not only providing his typically excellent Superman, but SuperDeadman and Bizarro too! Newburn doesnít nearly get the credit he deserves, because when he has something to work with, he is an outstanding Man of Tomorrow.

Speaking of Bizarro, I wasnít too impressed with his appearance here. Heís not at all like his Superman: The Animated Series counterpart, and since Bizarro am Stuís favorite Superman villain, I was disappointed with his portrayal. Itís been explained that Bizarro was Ďamped upí by Luthor into doing the exact opposite of whatever he says, but the chip used to do this is barely noticeable, and no explanation was offered as to why this was happening. His perfect model from Superman is yet another victim of digital coloring castrating a classic design and his cape is now pink for some reason. Pink. Like a girl. Whilst he wasnít featured in the episode that much, and he did take part in some kick ass fight scenes, it was sad to see such a great villain play such a mediocre role what will probably be his final appearance.

Onto better things now, starting with the direction. Dan Riba has never really been a favorite of mine, going right the way back to his Batman: The Animated Series work. Itís not terrible by any means, but Iíve always thought of it as Ďnormalí. I know this is hardly a compliment to a guy whoís been entertaining us all for 14+ years, but to me, he never stood out as great or terrible. This episode however, completely and utterly destroys any and all of his previous work. In short gentle reader, this episode looks stunning. Whilst a lot of it can be contributed to some of the finest animation to ever grave our beloved League, one canít deny the sheer brilliance of the staging as the big 3 kick the crap out of the Legion of Doom. This is without a doubt one of the best looking episodes of JLU ever, combined with a story as brilliant as this and numerous twists and turns, weíre looking at one of the best ever entries into the DCU.

The ending of the episode featured not one, but two big shockers! Batman with a gun was something I didnít see coming in the slightest. While there wasnít enough time to see him deal with the blood on his hands so to speak, itís there for the next few episodes. Hopefully it will be addressed, this is one storyline where fading to black wonít cut it. We have the potential for a character defining Batman episode here, and I hope it wonít be squandered.

The other big shocker is Groddís plan, and Luthorís ascension to the leader of the Legion of Doom. I believe Iím not alone when I sniggered at Groddís master plan of turning everyone into apes but at least it went somewhere with Luthor now in charge. I do wonder what exactly the point of the first four episodes of the season were now that Grodd is apparently out of the picture, but one shouldnít worry about the past when the future appears to be looking brighter than ever. If this truly is JLUís final season, then I simply canít wait to see it all unfold. If the previous two episodes are anything to go by, weíre well on the way to greatness this season. Letís hope the Legion donít screw it up!

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