Saturday, September 13, 2008

Justice League 1.9: Paradise Lost, Part 2 (1/28/02)

Disclaimer: Knowing full well there is a wealth of resources available to fans of the "Justice League" animated series, I have no intention of doing a bunch of dry story synopsis with the occasional new screen grab. I will chronicle, within reason, J'Onn J'Onzz's specific journey over the course of the series, but chiefly I will be reviewing the episodes through my own jaundiced perceptions.

Batman joins the battle, teaming with Manhunter against Felix Faust on Themyscira. J’Onn J’Onzz is able to use his intangibility to evade sorcerous blasts, but for some reason is still snared by disembodied tentacles. Faust succeeds in his goal to release the dread Lord Hades from Tartarus, but finds his master an ingrate as treacherous as himself. The League falters before Hades' might, both directly and in battle with his undead legions. J’Onzz once again draws attention to himself, then uses intangibility to turn a swarm of attackers against one another. Faust tries to revenge himself against Hades; a fatal decision, but one that allows Diana the chance to seal Hades back in his eternal prison. The truism about no good deed going unpunished is again validated, as Queen Hippolyta is forced by law to exile the Princess for the crime of having brought men, even superman, to the Amazon isle. Robert England and John Rhys Davies were both excellent as Faust and Hades, while Susan Sullivan made for a solid Hippolyta. The script by Joseph Kuhr sidestepped many of the pitfalls of a Wonder Woman episode, and was fairly exciting.

After all that I said previously, you must think I hate Wonder Woman. Nothing further from the truth. My first issue was from the early 80’s, a Gerry Conway number teaming the Amazing Amazon with Animal Man, and featuring a Huntress back-up. I fell for both girls, but newsstand distribution was nil in my area, so I couldn't find her regularly until the Perez series began. I enjoyed that for a while, but lost interest by the time George quit the art chores. I was lured back during the Messner-Loeb run, and fell so hard Wonder Woman became my favorite character for much of the 90’s. I read many a back issue, which were pretty dodgy, but still enjoyable. I read forward, through the painful Byrne work, the worse Eric Luke run, the pretty but tedious Jimenez issues and the okay Rucka closing. I love this character, and I see value in several distinct variations of the heroine, but so few creators “get” her that being a fan is a real chore.

For all dabblers in Wonder Woman writing, I have these words of advise: What Would Lynda Carter do? As Christopher Reeve and George Reeves are to Superman, so too is lovely Lynda. I’m not saying she was a great actress, nor that there aren’t valid interpretations that stray greatly from her “type.” What I’m saying is, when in doubt-- and most of you damned well seem to be in doubt-- speak the mantra. If you can’t say something nice with Wonder Woman, don’t say anything at all. She should always be likable, and preferably admirable. She should be wise, capable, and well integrated within whatever circle she is placed. She is “the” super-heroine, by virtue of reputation, if nothing else. You must respect the tiara. The easiest way to do that is to just remember, What Would Lynda do? And the first man who says “down a fifth of gin” gets the tiara. It’ll cut your fool head clean off... but with the utmost diplomacy.

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