It’s another Justice League Action episode focused on magic! The show has been surprisingly heavy on mystical heroes and villains, with 4 out of the first 12 involving spells and sorcery.
“Speed Demon” is the best and certainly most rhymetastic one yet.
We open with our first look at the JLA version of Harley Quinn. She’s raising a ruckus at Gotham City Hall, having gotten her hands on some sort of magic staff… topped with a Joker head.
Weird. The staff is something a historical joker would hold, but Harley is never in the lead on these things.
Zatanna’s on the scene, and we’re introduced to a really cool new way of showing her powers that I wish the show had used all along.
All Zatanna’s spells are plain English sentences, spoken backwards. If you didn’t know this going in, you would never have figured it out from the show. Until now. It’s a little bit Sailor Moon, but it really works.
Zatanna subdues Quinn in a magical bubble, and Batman steps forward to postulate on how this might have happened.
It’s Brother Night, the villain we very briefly saw in Solomon Grundy’s episode “Zombie King”. He likes to hook up other villains with magical powers.
The pair head off to the amusingly-named “Brother Night’s Club”, which is a nightclub for orcs and demons.
I love when this show just goes for it. And it makes sense. Brother Night is a magical mafioso, after all.
Batman opts for the full-frontal assault. He busts the door down and heads straight for Night, kicking butt along the way.
We covered Brother Night in that episode, but he’s given much more screen time here.
After he and Batman engage in a little verbal sparring, and Zatanna engages in a little real sparring with right-hand woman Ember, they get down to business.
Brother Night tries to tempt Batman with the ability to literally become a bat man, a winged demon to eradicate crime in Gotham.
Naturally, Bats turns this down. Zatanna demands Brother Night stop giving magical powers to villains, and Night responds with some ominously worded language about not touching a soul.
“I won’t touch a living soul… promise!” Monkey’s Paw, anyone?
The heroes accept this at face value and head out. Night sends out, which embeds itself into the Batmobile. Uh-oh.
It’s quickly apparent that the Batmobile is possessed by a spirit or magical force.. Like an evil Knight Rider.
After a brief fight in which both heroes are trapped in the Batmobile, the car escapes into Gotham. Zatanna’s in the trunk.
Deciding he needs to break out the big guns, Batman heads over to Jason Blood’s place. Jason isn’t wild about leaving his comfy den, but agrees to summon Etrigan once he hears Brother Night is involved.
Just in time, too. If he had changed a second later, the Batmobile would have squished him!
Although Etrigan is better equipped for hunting demon cars than Batman, he’s quickly stymied as well. So he also decides to break out the big guns, and calls down Merlin to help him enchant a car of his own.
The Batmobile pulls the same trick, and crushes the police car Etrigan had in mind.
And then he spots the ice cream truck…
A few seconds later, Etrigan busts onto the scene with his fiery “Ice Scream” truck.
The vehicular scuffle is enough for Batman to get Zatanna free, and the magician teleports the four of them away from civilians… and right into Brother Night’s hideout.
The villains flee the scene, Zatanna breaks the spell on the Batmobile, and Etrigan declares an ice cream party as Batman sulks over his totaled car.
Batman has chocolate, while Zatanna is excited about sprinkles. It’s total cheese and totally awesome.
Fun Stuff & Best Quotes in “Speed Demon”
- They really nailed Etrigan’s rhymes. He’s a joy to listen to, and utterly hilarious
- We see much more of Brother Night than in previous episodes. His status as magical mafioso is entirely clear now with his demonic goons, night club, and moll.
- Zatanna calls Brother Night “fairy godfather”. That has a double meaning in that he is acting as a “fairy godmother” by granting wishes to the other villains, and in that he is like The Godfather made famous by Marlon Brando.
- Batman quote of the episode: “A criminal is a criminal, monster or man. They both fall the same.”
- Zatanna: “Little secret? When goblins want to scare themselves, they tell Batman stories.”
- Brother Night: “That looked painful. I hope you didn’t land on the stick shift.”
Voice actress Tara Strong, who has voiced the character since Batman: Arkham Asylum.
Info & Trivia
- Harley Quinn is one of the few DC characters who originated in animation.
- Before she hit the mainstream with Suicide Squad, Quinn was a regular on Batman: The Animated Series.
- The Justice League Action version of Harley is a little more “medieval jester” than usual. Her costume has visible patches and stitches, and the staff she carries resembles a historical marotte.
- It’s very unusual to see Harley without even a mention of the Joker.
- “Listen up, Gotham City! Get ready to tremble at the magical might of the new and improved Harley Quinn!”
Voice actor Tara Strong, the voice of Harley Quinn.
Info & Trivia
- Ember is Brother Night’s favorite flunky in the comics as well as Justice League Action.
- She’s clearly part demon, based on her appearance and ability to breathe fire.
- This isn’t her first appearance in the show. Ember was one of the playable characters in Toyman’s fighting game from “Play Date”.
- “Challenge Brother Night, and you could get burned!”
Voice actor Patrick Seitz, best known for his work in anime and video games. He’s the voice of Scorpion in Mortal Kombat X.
Info & Trivia
- Depending on which comic you read, Jason Blood might have been a knight in King Arthur’s court centuries ago. Or he might have been a scribe in the service of the wizard Merlin.
- In any case, Merlin bound the demon Etrigan to Blood’s soul, rendering him immortal. He’s been kicking around since then fighting crime, and in modern times befriended Batman.
- By reciting a spell written by Merlin, Blood can call forth the demon.
- Etrigan isn’t necessarily a good guy (he is a demon after all), but he basically does what Jason wants. Pretty much.
- Etrigan always speaks in rhyme, and it’s amazing.
- Batman: “Jason Blood! Summon Etrigan, now!” Blood: “No. And good to see you again, Batman.”
- Etrigan: “Driving downtown is always a pain, but parking on me that’s insane!”
- “The lovely maid must not be fried, we’ll have to force our way inside!”
- “We’ve won, friends. Rejoice with glee! The frozen treats are now on me.”
- “Brother Night, the bat can cope! For all your might, you’re just a dope.”
Voice actor Dan Donohue, who also voices Brother Night.
Info & Trivia
- This is indeed Merlin of King Arthur’s Court.
- He’s the one responsible for binding Etrigan to Jason Blood.
- No relation to Green Arrow nemesis Malcolm Merlyn.
- However, depending on which comic you read, he might be the half-brother of Etrigan himself!
- “You call upon my powers, impish rhymer?”