Superman on Television
Justice League Action: Episode Reviews
Season 1 - Episodes 21: "Inside Job"Reviewed by: Thomas Dreyfuss
Originally Aired: March 11, 2017 (France); June 3, 2017 (U.S.)
Written by Heath Corson
Directed by Doug Murphy
Kevin Conroy as Batman (voice)
Jason J. Lewis as Superman/Red Tornado (voice)
Rachel Kimsey as Wonder Woman (voice)
James Woods as Lex Luthor (voice)
Jerry O'Connell as The Atom (voice)
Rating - 3 (out of 5): "Inside Job" is a fairly straight forward JLA episode in terms of both premise and execution. After Lex Luthor poisons Superman's bloodstream with a swarm of nanobots, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Atom all shrink down to save Superman from inside his body. Oh, and Wonder Woman makes an offhand comment about dating Superman but I'm waiting for the internet's basic comprehension of the english language to evolve beyond "covfefe" before I crack open that can of worms.
As I've talked about with "Wrath of the Red Lanterns," this episode isn't bad but so much of it feels "been there, done that". Mostly because there's a finite amount of stories you can tell with the Atom given the character's power set and scientific background so "Fantastic Voyage but with Superheroes" is the one that occurs frequently. Hell, Teen Titans Go! dedicated an entire episode to hanging a lampshade on the trope. That's not to say you can't do anything interesting with the concept but this episode isn't trying to break new ground so much as it's relying on elements that make the show great.
Once again, this version of Lex Luthor is fantastic thanks in part to James Woods' performance. It's a no brainer that Woods is an actor who could sell Luthor's machiavellian plans to kill Superman without it coming off as forced, but this episode also features some of the most grandiloquent dialogue I've ever heard. The other Justice Leaguers are fine, but pale in comparison to Luthor. Jason J. Lewis plays double duty as an ailing Superman and the super android Red Tornado, the latter of which is sorely underutilized. Wonder Woman gets one of the best fight scenes in the series so far and Rachel Kimsey sells it along with token references to Aliens and Scarface. And let's face it, Kevin Conroy is Batman so me criticizing that is a wash.
But let's get to Jerry O'Connell as the Atom as he's the second Superman actor to portray Ray Palmer after Brandon Routh did it first within the Arrowverse. I can see why the various "powers that be" would pick such charismatic actors to play Ray Palmer as the character's personality in the comics seems to begin and end with "scientist". O'Connell brings a lot of energy and humor to the Atom but it's better utilized in the upcoming episode "Battle for the Bottled City".
Overall, this episode isn't going to rank in anyone's "Top 10" JLA episodes listicle (no, I'm not writing one for the site). Thankfully, the series signature humor through characterization and action set pieces help to make "Inside Job" very enjoyable to watch.
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