Superman on Television
Justice League Action: Episode Reviews
Season 1 - Episodes 27: "Time Out"Reviewed by: Thomas Dreyfuss
Originally Aired: July 8, 2017 (U.S.)
Written by Jonathan Callen
Directed by Jake Castorena
Kevin Conroy as Batman (voice)
Rachel Kimsey as Wonder Woman (voice)
Diedrich Bader as Booster Gold/HIVE Master (voice)
Rating - 5 (out of 5): Oh boy. It's a Booster Gold episode! For those that don't know, Booster Gold is a relatively new member of the Justice League who debuted after the legendary Crisis on Infinite Earths. Booster's whole backstory is that he's actually Michael Jon Carter, a quarterback from the 25th Century who was disgraced once it was discovered he purposely threw football games for gambling purposes. Working as a janitor for the Metropolis Space Museum, Carter stole several items including a security robot named Skeets and a Legion of Superheroes flight ring (that's for a whole another review) and traveled back in time to become a member of the Justice League for less than noble reasons. The main reason why Booster has endured for so long in the comic book fandom is that despite his superpowers', he's one of the most human characters in the Justice League. Booster's constant pursuit for glory is something we can all relate on some level but the deep seeded character flaws (selfishness, fear of rejection, etc.) help us understand Booster's motivation for fleeting fame.
My first introduction to Booster Gold dates all the way back to the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Greatest Story Never Told" and this JLA episode is somewhat of a spiritual successor to that. It starts with Wonder Woman, Batman, and Booster fighting the Hive Master and his goon platoon. Once again, Booster Gold screws up but Batman's had enough of Booster's constant failures. As Batman verbally chews him Booster, a "time fissure" traps both heroes in place prompting Booster to take the lead. In the Vanishing Point, Booster's lair at the edge of time and space, Booster discover's a time eating monster is responsible for the fissure as Batman gains a newfound respect for Booster being an ever vigilant protector of time. Booster stops the monster responsible for the fissure but at the cost of Batman's memory. The episode ends where it began with Batman, having no recollection of the events in the fissure and thus no memory of acknowledging Booster's true heroism, giving Booster a piece of his mind. Rather than argue with Batman, Booster resigns to his fate of being a joke in Batman's eyes and is left alone looking at the only photographic proof of their misadventure.
This episode is anchored on Booster Gold and thankfully, Diedrich Bader's vocal performance delivers the goods. From shows like The Zeta Project to Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Bader has been WB Animation's secret weapon because of his surprising range as an actor. This episode really showcases that range with Bader finding balance between Booster's short attention span, making time travel exposition interesting to Batman (which in turn, makes it interesting to the audience), and selling some well earned moments of pathos.
Also worth mentioning is Batman who's being cruel to Booster as an act to motivate him. The audience don't know this until the very end so during the time fissure, we got to see a version of Batman reframing his view on Booster not just through Booster's actions, but also with a bit of self reflection on how he was being a total dick to Booster. It's a shame that Batman doesn't remember any of this but that tragedy is what elevates this episode.
If there's one gripe I have with this episode, it's that the music kinda ruined the ending for me. I haven't really commented on the music of JLA until now because I didn't think was worth commenting on. Outside of that awesome theme song, Kevin Riepl's compositions for JLA have been thus far pedestrian up until the ending of this episode. The light, goofy music that plays as Booster looks at his photo of himself and Batman undercuts the dramatic weight of that melancholic moment in favor of pointing out how silly that photo is. It's not a deal breaker but it's the kind of orchestral oddity that throws guys like me off.
So this episode is pretty much "The Greatest Story That Never Happened". The focus on Booster's heroism and Batman's revelation towards that made this episode for a pleasant surprise to the usual villain of the week format. It's one of the best episodes of the series and if you're willing to overlook the wacky music that plays at the end, then you might enjoy "Time Out" more than I did.
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