Yes, it’s a shrinking episode. It used to be that every animated series had an episode where the heroes get small. This is the kind where they go inside a human body, Fantastic Voyage style. They even wear suits straight out of the movie.
The other kind of shrinking episode is where they’re a few inches tall and probably fight a bug and then must get the attention of someone who can help. That one is coming up in a few weeks, when the Atom will defend the Watchtower against an attack by himself.
Anyway, this episode is our introduction to the Atom. He’s entertaining enough, and Jerry O’Connell does a great voice. Still, the episode is a little bit of a letdown after the last few truly excellent ones. There’s not much in the way of character development, and there are only a few stand-out action scenes.
It also relies on a great deal of gross-out humor. Batman uses his explosive batarangs to get past Superman’s super-boogers. Then everyone is covered in super-snot, and at the end Superman sneezes them out. Atom does mention his super-fresh breath, though.
This isn’t even the first time the Justice League has gone down this path. An episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold saw Aquaman and Atom shrinking down into Batman’s body to fight a disease.
At least Red Tornado is suitably impressive. The android got the short shrift in Justice League Unlimited, where he seemed to have been destroyed outright during “Patriot Act”. Luthor defeats him here, too, but he puts up a great fight.
Lex Luthor is finally cool again, too. The writers seemed to have dropped his Batman v. Superman Jesse Eisenberg schtick and let James Woods unleash his inner villain. The voice, dialog, actions, and even look of Luthor are much more traditionally sinister than previously.
He’s also clearly using Brainiac’s technology. With the exception of the queen, the nanites look like they could have come straight off of Brainiac’s ship.
With Luthor’s line that he “doesn’t have time for any of this”, it’s possible the show is hinting at his illness. In the comics and in Justice League Unlimited, Lex suffered from cancer induced by long exposure to kryptonite.
Justice League Action is much more of a kids’ show and unlikely to explicitly say Luthor’s dying, but they’ve been more than happy to hint at darker themes in the past. It’s also the real reason Luthor wears the suit. He’s kind of an evil Iron Man.
Atom really shines in this episode as well. Giving him a kryptonite monomolecular sword is a stroke of genius and fits his character perfectly. Atom is usually relegated to the role of behind the scenes researcher, and it’s nice to see him kicking butt.
Overall, though, this episode is just a bit of fluff. Superman gets sick, the heroes go in and fight some nanites, they win, Superman gets better. That’s about the size of it.
Atom has another storyline devoted to him coming up. Let’s hope that one’s more interesting.
Fun Stuff and Great Quotes in “Inside Job”
- Props to Wonder Woman for the Head Bonk of Doom at the end. She really gave it to Lex Luthor!
- Speaking of Luthor, his new suit looks very Green Lantern, complete with green energy shield.
- Quote of the episode goes to Luthor as well. “Livestreaming from the bloodstream! Teatime.”
- Wonder Woman’s a close runner up with “Say goodbye to your little friends!”, a reference to Scarface.
Voice actor Jerry O’Connell, who is no stranger to DC animation. He played Superman in Justice League: Dark, Justice League vs. Teen Titans, and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. He was also Captain Marvel in Justice League Unlimited and Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam. Aside from that, he starred in the old sci-fi series Sliders and a bunch of smaller appearances.
Info & Trivia
- Ray Palmer is a genius scientist and superhero who uses white-dwarf particles to alter his size.
- He’s usually a supporting character in both the comics and cartoons, though he gets his moments to shine.
- This version of the Atom is much truer to the comics than the character in CW’s Arrow. The Atom typically doesn’t wear a super-suit, relying instead on his wits and physical prowess to defeat his enemies.
- If all this sounds suspiciously like Ant-Man, that’s because DC and Marvel used to copy each other all the time. The Atom is the original in this case, predating Hank Pym by one year. That’s not always the case, though, and DC took “inspiration” from Marvel on plenty of occasions.
- “Something is taking down Superman from the inside. It’s actually quite fascinating if you think about it!”
- “Gross, right?”
- “Laser sword with just a pinch of kryptonite energy. Great for hacking through super nose hairs!”
- “I should have known Superman’s breath was super fresh!”
Voice actress Jason J. Lewis, the voice of Superman and numerous supporting characters.
Info & Trivia
- If Atom sounds suspiciously like Ant-Man, then Red Tornado should sound a little too much like The Vision. In this case, though, the Marvel version came 20 years earlier. Vision debuted in 1940, while Red Tornado’s first appearance wasn’t until 1960.
- He’s an android of unclear origins. In the most recent comics, the writers added a magical component to his story. Professor Ivo built an android body and ended up leaving it in a warehouse after its original purpose failed. A passing air spirit was looking for a way to better protect the Earth and inhabited the body.
- Red Tornado catastrophically loses fights all the time. He’s been “killed” more than almost any other hero, but always comes back. Since he’s an android, it’s easy to explain away that someone came along and rebuilt him.
- “It’s not good. He remains unconscious. And his vitals are dipping.”
- Atom: “I wish I could bring you along, Red Tornado, but this technology doesn’t work well on robots.” Red Tornado: “Story of my life.”