Justice League Action loves to dive into the darkest corners of DC comics. There are episodes based on the occult, on mythology, and plenty of Kirby-esque space madness. That’s why an episode like “Double Cross” is so welcome.
It’s a good old-fashioned Batman story. Firestorm tags along for the ride, but most of the action is given to the Dark Knight. It takes place in Gotham, and the villains are all straight out of Batman’s rogues’ gallery.
Too bad Plastic Man has to be there too.
The voice acting by Dana Snyder does a great job of evoking the old Filmation show The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show. At times, he’s a dead ringer for Joe Baker, and his overwrought impressions of classic film actors fit the character perfectly.
The thing is, Plastic man doesn’t fit Justice League Action. He’s a Looney Tunes character in the middle of a DC Comics show. Mixing those genres can be pretty interesting in things like Who Framed Roger Rabbit or even games like Steve Jackson’s Toon, but it doesn’t work here.
It’s tough to watch Plastic Man, say, turn into a giant balloon to eat an explosion and not imagine it from the perspective of the other characters. It’s a little horrifying.
It must be said, though, he totally redeems himself at the very end by posing at Deadshot’s gun. It’s genuinely surprisingly and very funny.
Anyway, the rest of “Double Cross” is pretty good. It’s nice to see that Firestorm is Batman’s regular buddy these days, and he continues to be hilarious. His jokes, which rely more on PJ Byrne’s delivery than visual gags, are usually solid and serve to break up Batman’s always-serious plotlines.
As for Batman’s plotline, it’s a non-spot battle between him and Deadshot (Floyd Lawton). Deadshot as depicted here is almost an equal match for the Dark Knight, and we get some great scenes. Lawton’s ninja skills and Boba Fett gadgets are on full display, and it’s gratifying to see Batman fight him through stealth and trickery rather than a direct assault.
Meanwhile, this is one of the best depictions of Two-Face in animation. Writers usually keep his split personalities a bit more subtle, but the Gollum/Smeagol style dialogs we get here work well. The scene in the hotel room, where Two-Face’s two personalities are talking to each other in the mirror, is brilliantly conceived. Keeping Two-Face in profile, so the unscarred side is reflected, lets us truly see them as distinct characters.
It seems like Harvey Dent really is still a good guy. He just has that mean old Two-Face guy hanging out in his head. That’s a break from the usual depictions, where Two-Face doesn’t have a split personality so much as an obsession with making life-and-death decisions through coin tosses. Robert Picardo is always a solid voice actor, and he does a great job quickly switching between the two sides of Dent.
Overall, though, some good Batman stuff doesn’t quite make up for the rest of the episode. Plastic Man just doesn’t fit in, and he’s present for way too many scenes. Thankfully, Justice League Action makes up for its short running time with a very long season. We have at least seven more episodes left for the show to shine again.
Fun Stuff and Great Quotes in “Double Cross”
- “THE PROM IS ON!”
- Also, “Imagine being stuck in the same brainpan as a little dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb like that dude.”
- The Batmobile’s tire hotswapping is a fun idea, and hasn’t been seen before in DC animation or films.
- It’s also fantastic how Gotham is identical to the Gotham of Batman: The Animated Series. Some of the set designs are lifted directly from the old show.
- We know that Batman has all sorts of gadgets and weapons on his suit. He’s practically Iron Man these days. In particular, he definitely has electrified gloves just like Deadshot used on him to great effect. So why didn’t he use any of his “big guns”?
- The exchange at the end between Firestorm and Plastic Man is just perfect.
- “I have to ask. Your clothes change with you. What is it, some sort of unstable atoms?” “Ha-what now?” “Your uniform.” “My what?”
- Yes, Plastic Man is naked at all times because he doesn’t know how to do anything else.
Voice actor Dana Snyder, the voice of Plastic Man.
Info & Trivia
- We barely see Penguin here, but he’s a longtime nemesis of Batman.
- In most modern depictions, including this one, he’s more of a crime boss and doesn’t engage in much supervillainy directly. The days of bird-themed henchmen and trick umbrellas have passed.
- “Nobody makes a patsy out of Penguin, unless they like the view from a pair of cement boots!
Voice actor Christian Slater, 80s heartthrob and star of Mr. Robot. Lately, he’s also done voice acting work on The Lion Guard (Ushari), Archer (Slater), and numerous appearances on Robot Chicken.
Info & Trivia
- Deadshot is a lot cooler than he seems in CW’s Arrow. Floyd Lawton is a deadly assassin with years of experience. And he never
- This isn’t Deadshot’s first appearance in the DCAU, though it is the first time he’s spoken. He had a cameo in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.
- The assassin is likely to appear more and more in animation and video games after the success of Suicide Squad.
- “Don’t worry, I’ll get you Two-Face.”
- “Batman! I was hoping I’d run into you.”
- “Night night, freak.”
Voice actor Robert Picardo, the Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager. He’s appeared in the DCAU before, playing Amazo in Justice League Unlimited.
Info & Trivia
- Two-Face is one of Batman’s greatest villains, of course. He’s a huge part of the movies, the DCAU, other animated projects, and even the 60s TV show.
- Like I said earlier, the Justice League Action version of Two-Face is a bit different. It leans much heavier into the split personalities, going so far as to have them argue with each other. He even warns Firestorm about his plan to escape, right before he executes it.
- Usually his disorder is much subtler, manifesting itself more as a willingness to flip between “criminal” and “serial killer”.
- He’s a great foil for Penguin. Hopefully we’ll see more of both of them in future episodes.
- “What do you care, you pasty faced pretty boy?”
- “One more word out of you and I’ll turn your face into a bowl of macaroni!”
- “I feel so ashamed. And strangely sleepy.”