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The World's Finest Presents

Question Authority

Episode #22 - Question Authority
Original Airdate - June 25th, 2005

The Question discovers a secret that threatens to shake the very foundations of the Justice League.

Reviews by Bird Boy, Simple Simon
Media by Bird Boy
Pans by Borg4of3
Credits:
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Directed by Dan Riba
Music by Lolita Ritmanis
Animation by Dong Woo Animation Co., LTD.

Voices:
George Newbern as Superman
Jeffrey Combs as The Question
Amy Acker as The Huntress
Chris Cox as Captain Atom
Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor
Dana Delany as Lois Lane
Robert Foxworth as Professor Hamilton
CCH Pounder as Amanda Wahler
J.K. Simmons as General Eiling, Mantis
Video Clip

Screen Grabs









Pans


Sound Clips
"I was busy." (MP3, 276kb)
"When are we going to go on a real date?" (MP3, 118kb)
"It's a start." (MP3, 118kb)
"President?" (MP3, 336kb)


Review (Bird Boy):
A simply magnificent episode, Question Authority delivers on all fronts. The animation is spectacular, the boarding is awesome; the dialogue was superbly written, from the moments of seriousness to the jokes between Lois / Superman and Huntress / Question. It was just a very well-knit episode with no visible flaws.

This starts the first of the four Cadmus season 2 finale arcs (the final episode in the season, “Epilogue”, is, for the most part, unrelated) and sets up a massive cliff-hanger for the episode: Captain Atom facing off against Superman, with Huntress carrying Question out of the Cadmus building.

As previously mentioned, the animation was gorgeous in this show. The directing backed it up, complete with minimal camera-shaken punches (something I think is getting a bit over-used) and…just perfect scenes. It’s hard to find a flaw in any of it—visually, it’s a pleasing episode.

There’s many ways this Cadmus Arc can go—utter annihilation of the world, destruction of the Justice League, death of comrades; wherever it goes, it’s sure to please. Even if the team somehow manages to fumble the ball in the coming episodes, there’s still pleasure in the earlier episodes. With the exception of maybe “Hunter’s Moon” (although I enjoyed that as well), this season has been the best out of Justice League’s two-season run and Justice League Unlimited’s two-season run.

Overall it was a sweet episode, no visible flaws, tight story-telling and just awesome characterization. The quips, the one-liners and the dialogue were all top-notch and Jeffrey Combs gave another stellar episode with The Question. The whole scene between Question and Luthor was such great fun to watch. Hopefully he’s not incapacitated for too long in future episodes; he’s great, I’d hate for this to be the last we hear of him this season.

Review (Simple Simon): If I were as paranoid as The Question, I’d be really scared right now. “Question Authority” features a man who hides his true identity behind a faceless mask, an avatar that lets him voice his opinions while minimizing retaliation. Said man gets brutally beaten and tortured because he challenges those who are calling the shots, those with the master plan.

And we wonder if the JLU creative staff has ever fantasized of tearing us apart for all our anonymous, outspoken comments.

This episode was really a pleasant surprise in that it kicked off the season 2 finale a bit earlier than expected. I find it interesting that JLU is pulling off a four-part story with massive continuity links to all corners of the DCAU, yet Cartoon Network’s original goal behind the new half-hour format was to essentially limit multiple-episode arcs. Maybe that’s why the cliffhanger ending doesn’t have the usual “to be continued” tagged onto it?

Bird Boy has already covered most of what made this episode rock – the strong animation, the rocking fight scenes (Huntress against the guards is one of the best staged brawls I’ve seen in awhile that doesn’t use the shaky-cam), the brilliant performances, and the dialogue. It’s this bit that I’d especially like to expand on, because there’s an awful lot of talking here. We get Superman and Lois, Superman and The Question, The Question and Lex Luthor, Huntress and Superman, and even a recap of that Oval Office scene from “A Better World.” I can’t remember the last time a “kids action show” had so much talking, especially talking in the form of real, dramatic dialogue and not just action-clichés and one-liners. The Question’s speech to Lex Luthor had me spinning with its complexity and verbiage. We talk about how JLU constantly gets away with a lot in terms of violence and sexual innuendo, but this is a much better demonstration of the shows maturity and Cartoon Network’s “hands-off” policy. I salute everyone involved for creating an action show where the action becomes secondary to strong dialogue that actually matters and isn’t written down.

Something else that’s notable: the shocking secret The Question discovers. When the loglines were first released, speculation ran from Batman secretly funding Cadmus to, well – Justice Lord Batman secretly funding Cadmus. In the end, the secret revealed is a secret we already knew, but the way its presented makes all the difference. Usually shows thrive on giving audiences the unexpected with curve balls and plot twists. Audiences lose interest when they can anticipate what’s going to happen. It’s to the show’s credit that we’ve known the big secret since season 2, but The Question’s discovery of it still brings about a sense of urgency, shame, and darkness. Again through dialogue, “Question Authority” takes the expected and makes it fresh again.

A few minor nitpicks with the episode, and it relates to pacing. I can’t help but feel certain scenes were extended to fill time, particularly when Huntress discovers the Oval Office tape. Most of the season’s continuity links have been through small bits of dialogue and offhand remarks. If we’re expected to remember stuff that happened in Superman: TAS, shouldn’t we of course remember stuff from JL season 2? And it’s not just a bit of the Oval Office scene; it’s practically the entire thing. The scene doesn’t reveal anything new (it still refrains from showing President Luthor being barbequed) so it feels like padding. The Mantis fight in the teaser also lasts a bit longer than it really needed to, but that’s probably to throw some requisite action into a dialogue-driven story.

Padding aside, “Question Authority” really represents the best JLU has to offer. An outstanding beginning to the Cadmus finale.


Bonus Video Clip


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