Superman on Television
Justice League Action: Episode Reviews
Season 1 - Episodes 22: "The Trouble With Truth"Reviewed by: Thomas Dreyfuss
Originally Aired: March 11, 2017 (France), June 3, 2017 (U.S.)
Written by Mairghread Scott
Directed by Shaunt Nigoghossian
Kevin Conroy as Batman (voice)
Jason J. Lewis as Superman (voice)
Rachel Kimsey as Wonder Woman (voice)
Chris Diamantopoulos as Green Arrow/Hive Master (voice)
Jessica Walter as Athena (voice)
Rating - 4 (out of 5): It took twenty-two episodes but we finally have a JLA episode dedicated to Wonder Woman. And just in time for the character's big live action movie (which I've already seen #BelieveTheHype). Now the thing that makes Wonder Woman tricky to adapt as a character is finding a balance between her fighting prowess and boundless love (We're talking Agape here, not Eros). So far, this series has leaned too hard on Wonder Woman being this badass warrior princess which is understandable given the show's time constraints and core demographic of boys ages 7-13. But a Wonder Woman without compassion is a dull Wonder Woman. See also, the Injustice 2 version of Wonder Woman who's a total badass in terms of presentation and gameplay, but her bloodthirsty actions and angry demeanor make her completely unsavory in a universe where Superman's a dic...tator.
But in "The Trouble with Truth," we get a brief glimpse of Wonder Woman's compassionate side and also a rare appearance of DC's version of Athena. You see, the start of the episode plays out like a typical superhero adventure. The terrorist organization known as H.I.V.E. has armed a cobalt fusion bomb somewhere in Metropolis and with Superman stuck on New Genesis, it's up to Batman, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman to find it. The twist is that Athena (Greek Goddess of Wisdom, War, Craft, Warcraft, World of Warcraft, etc.) descends from the heavens to tell Wonder Woman she's been chosen to be the new Greek God of Truth which leaves Wonder Woman with reservations about abandoning the life she's built with the Justice League.
Now everything about Athena is awesome. I love that they made her a sassy Aunt who's wise beyond her years. I love that she gets under Batman's skin and undermines Green Arrow's archery skills with her own. I love that she has the mechanical owl from the original Clash of the Titans which is such a cool, nerdy reference for cool nerds like me to catch. Best of all, I love that they got Jessica Walter to voice the character which by the way, makes her the second Arrested Development actor to portray a DC version of a Greek God after Jason Bateman voiced Hermes on Justice League Unlimited. Now Jessica Walter is well known for portraying mean characters on Archer and Arrested Development but while Athena is more of a cool aunt than a disapproving mother, the verbal kung fu and feminine ferocity fits right in line with Walter's best work.
But back to Wonder Woman. Aside from the aforementioned fighting, we do get to see Diana inspire people through Athena's words and Wonder Woman's actions. Unfortunately, her climactic encounter with the Hive Master left a bad impression on me. The villain pulls the old "self destruct my base so I can escape" routine but rather than having Wonder Woman use her Lasso of Truth to compel Hive Master how to shut down, she just sticks the guy to the bomb with the intent of leaving him for dead. Now in fairness, Wonder Woman does justifies her actions stating that she knew Hive Master would be selfish enough to deactivate the bomb. And in retrospect, there was no way DC Entertainment would approve of Wonder Woman murdering a man on a kids cartoon. But for a hot second there, I was shocked to see Wonder Woman display such callous disregard for a human life.
"The Trouble of Truth" wraps with Athena realizing Wonder Woman's place is on Earth inspiring mortals with her actions and helping the Justice League. There's even a fun visual gag with Green Arrow wanting to take Cupid's place as the god of love. It's a fun episode overall, but everything I loved about Athena only reminded me of what's lacking in this version of Wonder Woman.
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