Sunday, February 26, 2006

Justice League Unlimited—Patriot Act

The Upshot: When a powerful menace threatens Metropolis, Green Arrow must lead a group of non-powered superheroes such as Vigilante and Shining Knight to save the city.

Stinging from his reassignment following the Cadmus/Luthor debacle, Gen. Wade Eiling remains convinced that the Justice League and meta-humans in general present a clear and present danger to society. So Eiling forces his way into Cadmus labs, steels and injects a confiscated secret Nazi “super soldier” formula and transforms into a monster that looks not unlike the Shaggy Man from the comics.

Eiling smashes his way out leap frogs to Metropolis in search of Superman to prove in his warped logic that the League can’t protect humanity but he can.

We are disappointed with JLU’s interpretation of Eiling but it’s not entirely their fault. In the pages of Captain Atom, Gen. Wade Eiling was a suburb villain—perhaps even craftier than Lex Luthor. However, in the pages of JLA, Grant Morrison turned him into a stereotype military war monger who was dying and transferred his consciousness into the Shaggy Man android body.

Meanwhile in the Watchtower, Mr. Terrific, now in charge of monitor duty, assigns Green Arrow, Vigilante, the Shining Knight, Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E. to fill in for Superman for the city’s heroes day parade.

When the Shaggy General leaps in looking to fight Superman, the only line of defense is the roster of non-powered heroes. S.T.R.I.P.E. hangs in there longer than anyone would have expected but he eventually gets a good pounding as Eiling smashes, while Stargirl gets a few good hits in but she’s also taken out.

Mr. Terrific beams in some back up in the form of The Crimson Avenger and Speedy, GA’s former sidekick… “partner” Speedy quickly corrects. Even their quantum arrow can’t take out this monster.

The Shining Knight is nearly beaten to death but he remains unbowed as a group of normal civilians place themselves in Eiling's path as human shields. A chastened Eiling leaps away, still convinced he’s in the right…as the madmen are inclined to do.

We were especially glad to see the Knight get some long overdue exposure, and the surprise appearance by Speedy represents the closest thing to a JLU/Teen Titans cross-over that we’ll ever get. We think it would be even nicer for Nightwing to make an appearance but we’re not holding our breath.

As we keep count, Patriot Act marked the 7th of the remaining 13 JLU episodes.

Next week: The Great Brain Robbery. A mystical accident leads to the swap of the Flash's and Lex Luthor's minds.


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