Superman on Television
Justice League Action: Episode Reviews
Season 1 - Episodes 14: "Speed Demon"Reviewed by: Thomas Dreyfuss
Originally Aired: December 11, 2016 (Poland), March 25, 2017 (U.S.)
Written by Paul Dini
Directed by Doug Murphy
Kevin Conroy as Batman (voice)
Tara Strong as Harley Quinn/Ember (voice)
Dan Donohue as Brother Night/Merlin (voice)
Lacey Chabert as Zatanna (voice)
Patrick Seitz as Jason Blood/Etrigan the Demon (voice)
Rating - 5 (out of 5): It's kind of weird that Batman, a hero with no affinity towards sorcery, tags along with a bunch of magical superheroes on Justice League Action as well as the Justice League Dark movie. I mean, I get that pairing the Dark Knight with any lesser known DC character increases the overall visibility of said character. That's what Batman: The Brave and the Bold did but on a Justice League project where the DC Trinity are the major players, Wonder Woman is a better candidate to fight against the supernatural threats in the dark corners of the DC Universe. Think about it. Wonder Woman is an experienced warrior raised on a magical island of badass women. She carries a magic golden lariat that makes anyone ensnared to tell the truth and indestructible bracelets. Hell, SHE'S BORN FROM CLAY! How could she not be a member of Justice League Dark?
But credit where credit is due, Batman's the biggest, most successful hero in DC's roster so I don't blame anyone for sticking him in any sector of the DC Universe. What I like about these JLA JLD episodes is that the writers best utilize Batman's inexperience in magic to provide exposition and comedy to keep the audience engaged. Case in point, "Speed Demon," an episode where Batman has to fight the Batmobile. Yes, you read that right. Batman fights his own damn car. Well, damned car feels more apt for this episode as the Batmobile becomes demonically possessed by Brother Night. Unable to destroy the Batmobile with Zatanna trapped in its trunk, Batman enlists the services of Etirgan the Demon to put an end to Brother Night's satanic shenanigans.
For another Justice League Dark episode in a series chock full of them, "Speed Demon" hits all the right notes. We get to see more Brother Night and we're introduced to his world. Now I'm not all that familiar with Brother Night and his dragon girl underling Ember, but this episode made me like these characters from Paul Dini's run on Zatanna. Aside from his creations (including that short yet sweet Harley Quinn cameo), Dini's clever writing talents are on full display in "Speed Demon". The premise of Batman fighting the Batmobile is in itself brilliant but throwing Etrigan into the mix makes this episode truly awesome. Etrigan's rhyming speech pattern and fearless attitude has made the character popular amongst DC fans and these traits remain intact in JLA. Patrick Seitz's vocal performance as both the level headed Jason Blood and his demonic counterpart is very impressive given the short amount of time both characters are on screen.
And then there's the car chases which make up the bulk of the action for this episode. As a kid of the 90s, it was surprisingly cathartic seeing the Batmobile pulling some Joel Schumacher-esque wall driving and riding up a tunnel ceiling a la Men in Black as it pursues Batman and Etrigan riding around an enchanted ice cream truck. Oh yeah. Did I mention that Etrigan summons Merlin to enchant an ice scream to fight the Batmobile? Because that totally happens so yeah. This episode rules.
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