|The Ties That Bind
Episode #15 - The Ties That Bind
Original Airdate - February 12th 2005
The world's greatest escape artist needs help from the Flash in order to
break a deadly enemy out of an inescapable prison on an alien planet.
Review by Bird Boy
Media by Bird Boy
Story by Steranko
Teleplay by J.M. Dematteis
Directed by Dan Riba
Music by Lolita Ritmanis
Animation Services by Dong Yang Animation
Carl Lumbly as J'onn J'onzz
Michael Rosenbaum as Flash
Ioan Gruffudo as Mr. Miracle
Farrah Forke as Big Barda
Ed Asner as Granny Goodness
Arte Johnson as Virman Vundabar
Michael Dorn as Kalibak
Dick Miller as Oberon
Jeremy Piven as Elongated Man
Zachary Shada as Young Scott
One of the biggest gripes about Justice League Unlimited for fans was the
extreme lack of Flash. Whether the rumor that Michael Rosenbaum was busy
with other projects or the creative team simply had a hard time getting him
to work well with other characters due to his nature of being able to do
virtually anything, or whatever else may have been floating around, Flash is
now back. With confirmed appearances in future episodes this season, fans
won’t be able to complain about the lack of the original seven—heck, J’onn
even got some action in this episode.
The debut episode of Mr. Miracle and Big Barda’s first appearance since
Batman Beyond’s “The Call”, this episode is going to be remembered as the
fantasmical return of The Flash and not about Mr. Miracle’s time spent in
the X-Pit, tortured by Granny Goodness. Sure there is valid reason for that,
but Mr. Miracle really is an interesting character to watch and it’s a shame
it won’t be remembered as well as Flash’s wise cracks.
There’s quite a hefty roll call this episode. Cameos by Elongated Man and
J’onn J’onnz (as well as a larger part for J’onn later on), Flash, Big
Barda; the return of Granny Goodness and Kalibak and the introduction of Mr.
Miracle, Oberon and Virman Vundabar. It was quite the studded cast and I
really didn’t have much trouble following the list of characters; granted we
really only focused on four, with Virman making the occasional appearance.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the episode was the flashbacks Mr.
Miracle had while traveling to and through the X-Pit. They were interspersed
in an almost ‘Lost’-like fashion, with the characters heightened emotions
triggering their memories of times past in their lives. Maybe I’ve just been
watching too much of the show, or maybe the fact that Dini has worked on
both ‘Unlimited’ and ‘Lost’ that I’m drawing links where they don’t belong.
Either way, I did find them a neat way to throw in past elements; without
them, Mr. Miracle would have been confusing and uninteresting. Though I
certainly don’t want to see these type of things in future episodes for new
characters, it was a nice one-time thing, as long as it stays like that.
The plot was nothing more than your simple bash and smash story. Your friend
(Oberon) was captured and the person who captured him (Granny Goodness)
wants you and your wife (Mr. Miracle and Big Barda) to free the son
(Kalibak) of the former ruler of Apokolips (Darkseid) in order for the
capturer to be able to take over Apokolips with the son. Before you get
yourself in a situation you can’t handle, you go to a big group of
superheroes (Justice League), enlist the aid of brash and likeable hero (The
Flash) and you’re off to do some rescuing! After you succeed, you go back to
get another hero (J’onn J’onzz) to impersonate the son and trick the
capturer into thinking of her hideout where she holds your friend. Like I
said, it’s basic, but it’s a fun way to kill a half-hour on Saturday
(assuming you have nothing better to do than watch cartoons, that is).
Hearing voices from past episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, Batman
Beyond and Justice League is always a treat. Ed Asner reprises his role as
the revolting Granny Goodness, Michael Dorn comes back as the brute Kalibak
and Michael Rosenbaum reprises his role as the perfect voice for The Flash.
Ioan Gruffudd throws out a decent voice for Mr. Miracle, while Farrah
Forke’s reprisal of Big Barda seems to jump around from either a great
performance or a monotone one. Arte Johnson gave a great voice for the
slightly annoying Virman Vundabar, making you either love or hate him—or
both at the same time, whichever your case may be.
This certainly will probably go down as one of the poorest episodes of the
second season for some, but for me, Flash was back and cracking jokes and
now everything is right in the world. Recommended if you’re a Flash or Mr.
Miracle fan; stay away if you don’t like either.
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