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Episode #52 - The Joining, Pt. 2
Original Airdate - May 5th, 2007

Gotham faces its biggest threat ever – an alien invasion. Determined to save his city on his own, Batman learns even the greatest heroes must sometimes rely on a team.

Review by Stu
Media by Bird Boy, Rick
Credits
Written by Jane Espenson & Doug Petrie
Directed by Brandon Vietti and Vinton Heuck
Music by Thomas Chase Jones
Animation by Dong Woo Animation

Voices
Rino Romano as The Batman/Bruce Wayne
Evan Sabara as Robin/Dick Grayson
Danielle Judovits as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon
Alastair Duncan as Alfred
Kevin Michael Richardson as Joker
Mitch Pileggi as Commissioner Gordon
Louis Gossett, Jr. as Lucius Fox
Dorian Harewood as Martian Manhunter

Video

Screen Grabs









Pans


Review (Stu) - Note: The following review is for both parts of "The Joining" and contains spoilers.

The Batman ups the antae with its season final as the title character faces his biggest threat yet as he faces a villain almost beyond even his comprehension. This is one that the fanboys have either been dreading or foaming at the mouth to see – Batman joining The Justice League.

The majority of the season has focused on Batman and his new partner Robin fighting crime in Gotham City. The show has had a nothing short of a miraculous rejuvenation since the Boy Wonder made his debut in "A Matter Of Family" delivering a very, very strong season. Does this finale continue the trend or is an alien invasion too much for the Dynamic Duo? To be truthful, the episode isn’t quite as good as "A Matter Of Family" or Riddler’s Revenge but it trumps Two Of A Kind, The Breakout and Strange New World. I liked part one a lot more than part two as the writers do a tremendous job building up the invasion and have created an incredibly interesting version of Martian Manhunter, a character who I personally usually found to be a bit on the boring side, both in the comics and in most cases, his previous animated appearances. Dorian Harewood brings the Martian to life and does a spectacular job. When they originally announced that he had been cast in the role, something didn’t click with me. I’m a fan of his previous work (War Machine in Iron Man, baby!) but I couldn’t see him as J’onn J’onnz for whatever reason. I’m now happy to admit I was wrong.

“I’m now happy to admit I was wrong.” Christ, that felt wrong typing that. This is surely the most irregular of statements from your friendly neighborhood reviewer.

Design wise, the manhunter from Mars was looking sharp. He has a relatively dull design to begin with but Matsuda makes it great on the small screen just as Bruce Timm did 5 years ago for the original Justice League appearance. Some of the fanboys have complained about his shorts but I think they really suit him. Speaking of the new designs, The Justice League (Of America?) is looking sharp. I was especially impressed with their depiction of Green Arrow. I’m looking forward to seeing these guys next season.

The villains of the piece were a better build up than threat. As soon as they became robots, they were just that – robots. It’s hard to like a villain without the slightest bit of personality but I do admit to being impressed with the opening visuals of part two with the robots destroying the city. It’s been four seasons and they still manage to impress me each and every week with the visuals in this show. The Joining actually reminded me of Brainiac, but it wasn’t anywhere near as cool. Hell, in retrospect, Brainiac being the one who ‘forced’ The Justice League to come together could’ve been as cool as hell.

Some will no doubt compare this episode to "Secret Origins", the premiere episode of Justice League and to be honest, this story blows it out of the park. The episodes are just filled with great stuff – the introduction of Lucious Fox (who is actually interesting!), Batman expressing his concern for the possible loss of his partners and even Alfred gets some great lines… when has that ever happened in this show before?!

The character interaction with Batman and the rest of the Justice League was simply brilliant. The highlight of either episode is Bruce Wayne completely and utterly owning Detective Jones in the bar as he immediately announces that he knows he’s a Martian and blocks out his powers within seconds of learning what they are. Following that, his constant one-ups-man-ship of J’ohnn throughout the episode was great stuff to watch. This is a Batman worthy of joining the Justice League.

The final scene in which he shows the rest of the League who’s boss is one of, if not the coolest moment the show’s ever had. Overall, The Joining stands as a great finale to an exceptionally well crafted season. I’ll be back for season 5, without question.

 

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