“Garden of Evil” is a humdinger of a Justice League Action episode. For starters, it has the biggest cast yet.
Here’s everyone who shows up in the battle for Gotham.
- Batman (naturally)
- Swamp Thing
- Professor Stein
- Harley Quinn
- Poison Ivy
For another, the story hook is genuinely great. Like “Freezer Burn”, we get a character pairing that is so obvious, but hasn’t yet been explored. The last time this happened, it was Firestorm and Killer Frost.
In “Garden of Evil”, it’s Poison Ivy and Swamp Thing. After all, Ivy has a thing for plants. And Swampy is a plant thing.
Unfortunately for Swamp Thing, she’s able to control him just as easily as she does any other plant. Swampy is so good-natured as he tries and fails to break free from her mind control.
His entrance is one of the most hilarious things that’s yet happened on the show.
Superman: Swamp Thing?
Vixen: Swamp Thing?
Swamp Thing: SWAMP THANG!!!
As the heroes subject him to nuclear fire, blades, and super-punches, he’s just so good-natured about everything. He compliments them on their efforts and even offers advice in between rounds of Ivy-directed mayhem.
Speaking of nuclear fire, that’s the other standout line in an episode full of great quotes.
Professor Stein: We need to make a wall of nuclear fire!
Firestorm: Oh, okay.
Swamp Thing’s dialog is sheer delight, and so is the way Poison Ivy treats him. This is our first look at the plant-themed supervillain, and the showrunners did a great job. She legitimately would like to marry Swamp Thing and rule Gotham with him. And why not? She loves plants.
The other great thing in this episode is Harley Quinn. Harley and Ivy go way back. They’ve featured in their own comic book together, they’ve starred in plenty of DCAU episodes, and they may even have had a romantic relationship.
Here, Harley is just having a ball. Although she’s been on Justice League Action before, she was previously corrupted by Brother Night’s magic.
Here, we get the real Harley Quinn. She’s bouncing around on spring shoes, calling people names, and just generally having fun. And without a whiff of the Joker to be found.
“Better luck next time, Beast-Babe!”
What we do get is a callback to the Joker’s pet hyenas. That’s all Harley wanted in this scheme. She ends up in a cage with them, but at least they’re together. It’s a fantastic reference back to Batman: The Animated Series, or maybe Batman Beyond.
They’re named Bud and Lou, after Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
We also get a nice piece of development for Firestorm. It turns out he can’t transmute living matter. What he can do is turn the Batmobile into a multi-bladed monstrosity, of which Batman approves.
New toy, anyone?
It’s a wild ride with so many characters to balance, but the show manages.
Overall, this may be the best single episode of Justice League Action yet. It’s just plain fun, you get to see everyone kick butt, and you’ll smile at the jokes throughout. It’s great.
Fun Stuff and Great Quotes in “Garden of Evil”
- Swamp Thing comes up with “shmoopy” as a pet name for Poison Ivy, but she runs with it.
- Firestorm: “Hey Battycakes, how’s that formula coming?”
- Also Firestorm: “Grumpy Swampy!”
- Vixen uses the power of pufferfish and of a flying squirrel. Okayyy…
- Nice to see the Gotham Police doing their thing. They’re never effective against supervillains, but they try hard. And they look pretty cool with their machetes.
- Apparently, this all started when Swamp Thing went on a blind date with Poison Ivy. More trouble is caused by dating in this show than anything else.
Voice actor Natasha Leggero, stand-up comedienne and actress. She was Callie in Ugly Americans.
Info & Trivia
- This is a new, more fashionable look for Ivy. In most DC media she leans much more heavily into the “covered in plants” look. The leaf beret is a great touch.
- Her and Harley have a history, and even their own comic book.
- She was once called Pamela Isley, a botanist. She truly loves her plants, she’s not just using them for crime.
- “Destroy them, shmoopy!”
- “Those filthy meatbags are weakening my control over him!”