Superman on Television
Justice League Action: Episode Reviews
Season 1 - Episodes 25: "Garden of Evil"Reviewed by: Thomas Dreyfuss
Originally Aired: April 2, 2017 (WonderCon)
Written by Paul Dini
Directed by Shaunt Nigoghossian
Kevin Conroy as Batman (voice)
Jason J. Lewis as Superman(voice)
Tara Strong as Harley Quinn (voice)
Mark Hamill as Swamp Thing (voice)
Stephen Tobolowsky as Professor Martin Stein/Firestorm (voice)
P.J. Byrne as Ronald Raymond/Firestorm (voice)
Natasha Leggero as Poison Ivy (voice)
Jasika Nicole as Vixen (voice)
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS GENERAL DISCUSSION OF PLOT, CHARACTERS, AND STRUCTURE FROM A JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION EPISODE THAT HAS NOT AIRED YET AND COULD BE CONSIDERED AS MINOR SPOILERS. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Rating - 5 (out of 5): Prior to this episode, I've been lukewarm towards Mark Hamill's performance as Swamp Thing on Justice League Action. I don't think he's been miscast in the role, but Hamill's warm, friendly take on the protector of the green didn't sit right with me. But something in this episode made me realize that I've been looking at this version of Swamp Thing all wrong. This version of Swamp Thing looks hideous on the outside but he's not completely divorced from humanity. If anything, this version of Dr. Alec Holland tries his best fit in with humanity while still serving the protector of the Green.
But in "Garden of Evil," Swamp Thing transforms Gotham City into a botanical nightmare after going on a blind date with the plant controlling super villainess Poison Ivy. As Batman hurries to concoct a serum to block Ivy's abilities, Superman, Firestorm, and Vixen try to contain the escalating situation with Swamp Thing. Meanwhile, Harley Quinn's on hand to help Ivy keep her future husband in check. Yes, you read that right. Poison Ivy wants to rule Gotham under her green thumb and marry Swamp Thing.
So yeah, sorry Harley/Ivy shippers. The pair of Gotham Girls only share a couple of seconds together as and as far as I can tell, their relationship is strictly platonic. I'm not too miffed about this as the focus of this episode is on Swamp Thing being put through the wringer. Not only is poor Swampy forced against his will to turn Gotham into Ivy's personal garden, he's also transformed by Ivy's chemicals into a giant monster to fight his fellow Leaguers. This is where everything licked for me as Swamp Thing's hulking appearance is not only contrasted by Swampy fighting for his freedom, but also the mind controlled version fighting for his "shmoopy". It's an incredibly funny experience to behold and Hamill makes each uncomfortable line work like magic.
"Garden of Evil" is a fantastic episode with a lot of action, comedy, and characters packed in 11 minutes. So here's a quick rundown of some tidbits I noticed from this episode. The character design work is spot on with my personal favorite being Harley Quinn who looks like she was ripped straight from Shane Glines' cover to Gotham Girls #3. Vixen's showdown with Harley was great even though I wish that both characters had more screen time. We find out that Firestorm can't transmute living matter like Ivy's vines. But it's okay because Firestorm uses his powers to transform the Batmobile into something more... interesting. Can't say what the vehicle becomes but trust me, it's awesome and even Batman likes it.
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