Superman on Television

Justice League: Episode Reviews

Season 5 - Episode 8: "The Great Brain Robbery"

Reviewed by: Barry M. Freiman

They Stole Luthor's Brain... Again... in "The Great Brain Robbery"

Where do great stories come from? On "JLU", sometimes the great stories come from great comic book stories and sometimes they come from the pure ingenuity of the animated architects - but, in this case, the story grows from one cast member's second job. Moonlighting pays off in spades for JLU fans when Michael Rosenbaum's Flash and Clancy Brown's Lex Luthor switch minds in "The Great Brain Robbery". The effect of the mind-swap is to have Rosenbaum voicing Lex Luthor which should be a familiar one for him - it's his full-time job on TV's "Smallville".

The biggest surprise of the episode is that the biggest surprise isn't the fun of Rosenbaum voicing Lex, it's the fun of Brown's performance as the mind-displaced Flash. There are moments where Brown is speaking and, but for a subtle pitch distinction, his style of speech is identical to Rosenbaum's when he's doing the Flash. Rosenbaum, on the other hand, has fun with playing a fully formed chrome-dome. Rather than play Lex as an adult version of the character he plays on "Smallville", Rosenbaum portrays Brown portraying Luthor. Unfortunately, Rosenbaum doesn't seem as comfortable in Brown's shoes as Brown does in Rosenbaum's - then again, it's not as difficult to get into the Flash's head as it is Lex's as both characters are portrayed on JLU.

Rosenbaum also voices Dr. Polaris, a master of magnetism and potential mutineer. Polaris speaks with the "Smallville" Luthor's voice. This presents an interesting counterpoint to Brown's Flash and helps to reiterate exactly how different the work Rosenbaum does on "JLU" is from the work he does on "Smallville".

I'm getting tired of saying it - again we have a Superman-less episode. With the show streaming to an apparent end, I'm hoping that George Newbern will voice Superman again. But, with "Superman Returns" on the horizon, one has to wonder if Superman's been pulled from the JLU role call because he's otherwise spoken for (Tim Daly is returning to voice Superman later this year in the direct to DVD "Superman: Brainiac Attacks"). Last year, Time Warner pulled a similar move with the Batman characters due to "Batman Begins" and the WB's "The Batman" cartoon which essentially resulted in an embargo on JLU using any of Batman's rogues and allies.

There are a lot of cameos on the hero and villain side this week and I'm certain I've missed a few but here's who I spotted this time out...

On the hero side: The Flash, Mr. Terrific, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, Red Tornado, Stargirl, Captain Atom, Elongated Man, Ice, Booster Gold, Starman, Dr. Light, and Steel.

On the villain side: Lex Luthor, Tala, Grodd, Brainiac (a piece of him anyway), Dr. Polaris, Bizarro, Rampage, Copperhead, Giganta, Livewire, Sinestro, Atomic Skull, Dr. Destiny, The Key, Toyman, the Dummy, the Monocle, the Gentleman Ghost, the Shark, Weather Wizard, the Top, Angle Man, KGBeast, Evil Star, Sonar, Thinker, Executioner, Tattooed Man, the Parasite, Psycho-Pirate, and Heatwave.

Write in and tell me who I forgot and I'll praise your eyesight in the next review.

Next week, it's super-chick on super-chick action in "Grudge Match". Black Canary gets involved in super-Fight Club. The first rule of super-Fight Club? Only your hairdresser knows for sure.

Peace out.

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