Superman on Television
Justice League Action: Episode Reviews
Season 1 - Episodes 16: "Luthor in Paradise"Reviewed by: Thomas Dreyfuss
Originally Aired: December 11, 2016 (Poland); April 28, 2017 (U.S.)
Written by Matt Wayne & Stan Berkowitz
Directed by Jake Castorena
Kevin Conroy as Batman (voice)
Jason J. Lewis as Superman (voice)
Rachel Kimsey as Wonder Woman (voice)
Julianne Grossman as Hippolyta (voice)
Laura Post as Circe (voice)
James Woods as Lex Luthor (voice)
Rating - 4 (out of 5): A bit of housekeeping before I get into this review. On Thursday, April 27, Cartoon Network sent out a press release and video clips to the press stating that the episode "Field Trip" was going to air this weekend here in the states instead of "Luthor in Paradise". That didn't happen. Instead, Cartoon Network uploaded SIX EPISODES (including this one) to their website/mobile app. Five of them haven't even aired yet, but I'll be sure to review them soon because that's kind of what we do around here. Folks, it shouldn't be this hard to keep up with Justice League Action but it's actively frustrating to see Cartoon Network treat this show like dirt and start kicking it everywhere. In the grand scheme of things, this misinformation campaign is just a minor inconvenience for me. I'm glad I found out about these unaired episodes and big thanks to everyone who pointed these out to me, but this shouldn't be happening. A real network airs their programs. Oh well...
Written by Justice League Unlimited alums Matt Wayne & Stan Berkowitz, "Luthor in Paradise" takes us to the amazon island of Themyscira. When Lex Luthor and Circe invade Paradise Island to steal Hippolyta's staff, it's up to Wonder Woman and her "sidekicks" Batman and Superman to the evil couple from acquiring the power of Zeus laying dormant in an ancient Oculus within the Fallen Realm. Sounds simple, right?
This episode leans more on the titular "action" aspect rather than the comedy most associated with the series. There's plenty of laughs to be had in the form of semi-humorous exchanges between each character and an hysterical running gag involving male facial hair, but the fight sequences are the real draw here as they inform each character and look great in motion. One such moment that comes to mind is the big battle at the end where the Lex/Circe power couple overwhelm the DC Trinity until their foes quickly turn the tables leaving Circe and Lex to turn on each other.
It's a great scene that correlated with Lex Luthor and Circe's relationship being the crux of "Luthor in Paradise". While I thought James Woods' take on Lex Luthor was okay in "Repulse," he absolutely shines as the megalomanic with an evil scheme that fits the character without ever overshadowing him. And holy crap, how about Laura Post as Circe? Hearing Post as the gruff and powerful Big Barda in "Under a Red Sun" was cool enough, but her vocal performance as the sultry sorceress Circe is even more impressive.
Overall, "Luthor in Paradise" feels balanced with its comedy, action beats, and strong characterization.
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