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Animation Pimp: 'Justice League' — What’s with These People?

Henry Turner investigates the newest developments in motion capture and motion control, which brings the technology on-set. Includes a QuickTime movie clip from Hidalgo.


Missing in Action from the Justice League are the Green Arrow, good dialogue and responsible representation of violence. Justice League and all related characters are trademarks of DC Comics © 2001. TM & © Warner Bros. and TM & © 2001 Cartoon Network. An AOL Time Warner Co.

Jarvis is going through a superhero phase so weve been taking in a variety of DC/Marvel related books, action figures, movies and TV shows. One show that has really got his fancy is the Justice League. This is pretty surprising to me since its a relatively dark and mature-wanna-be show that often addresses issues of identity, culture and race. Anyhow Ive been watching the first season along with Jarv and Im a bit baffled and mildly (and I mean MILDLY) miffed over the direction and inconsistencies of the show.

Extreme Violence without Death

I wrote about this two years or so ago, but it tightens my girdle every time I see massive explosions, shooting and other WMD assaults without there being any deaths. People tend to get helped up while slowing massaging their head as if theyve got nothing more than a slight headache. The message to kids: Death is not okay, but extreme displays of violence are. Second message to kids: Extreme displays of colorful violence on other humans have no fatal or even critical effects; just a slight headache.


The dialogue in this show is dreadful, e.g., after Batman has dismantled a nuclear weapon (where the fug was Superman?) Green Lantern says, You did it. Batman, with all the originality and modesty of a basket says, NO, we did it. Hey kids, theres no I in team. However, as some schmuck pointed out, there is an M and an E. But okay, I know I know What do you expect? one of you well-intended readers will say. I say it again: I expect better and so should you especially from Batman.


Why is Batman so pissed off all the time? Okay, his parents were murdered, but that was about 30-35 years ago. Meantime, he becomes a multi-millionaire, a successful scientist and a pretty good superhero (see to me Elastic Man is sort of a lame superhero). Id say he turned out okay. Maybe hes fed up with having to save the day in almost every episode. See Batman is the only real human of the bunch and has no superpowers so its kind of ironic that he often has to come in and save their alien butts from doom. Its not even just doom-related events. These superfools cant even seem to figure out basic stuff. For example, when doctors are trying to figure out what is wrong with an injured Aquaman; Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Martian Snoozer and Superman are all dumbfounded. Fortunately Batman arrives in time to tell the doctor that Aquaman just needs to be placed in saltwater. Well Jesus, any blind, half-brained goat coulda solved that puzzle so why the heck cant these superpowered aliens? I could see that being frustrating. Im certain that Batman has a drinking problem too. If not, he should.

Aquaman is a confounding character  is he or isnt he a member of the JL?


Im confused. First, whats with the hair and attitude? He used to be such a clean-cut guy with an amiable personality. Secondly, IS he or is he NOT a member of the Justice League? Granted, Ive only watched one episode with him in it (the one where he cuts off his arm so that he can save his son. That freaked Jarvis out. And that reminds me, NOT showing the actual event can sometimes be more traumatic on kids. Jarvis keeps asking me things like: Where is Aquamans arm?, Was their blood? It doesnt mean anything to him that Aquaman sliced his arm off to save his baby son, he just wants to know if it hurt and if that sliced arm fell into the lava pit below.) and he doesnt become a member of the team then. Yet, you can now find a 10-inch Aquaman JLA figure. That tells me that hes part of the club. What gives? (BTW, why is there no Hawkgirl figure? And why does the Wonder Woman 10-inch figure come on a stand? Is there a balance problem because of her breasts?)

Green Lantern

Okay, many of us who grew up knowing Green Lantern as a white guy were surprised to find this new black Green Lantern (with a paranoid, distrusting attitude). It just seemed like a cheap p.c. gimmick. And it is, but lucky for the Cartoon Network, there are, and have been, many different Green Lanterns throughout the universe so this decision at least fits the characters history. Still, I dont like his attitude. Maybe hes insecure over the whole race thing? Maybe they need Black Falcon or Apache Chief?


Green Lantern changes his race in this version of the Justice League and why is it that Wonder Woman has the ability to fly and owns an airplane?

Wonder Woman

BUT what about Wonder Woman? When she first appears, the others act like theyve never seen her before? Secondly, while the Cartoon Network was so busy worrying about covering their race ground, apparently they werent too concerned about women. The guy superheroes, Flash in particular who has now become the brash, arrogant, annoying and unfunny young jokester are all a ga-ga when Wonder Woman first arrives. Flash makes it pretty clear that hed like to be a-bonin ol Wonder Woman. And sure enough, shes still drawn as some superhot, ample chested, long legged hottie. Of course shes better than that. Shes got brain and brawn, so again, Cartoon Network covers its bum there. Plus, theyve given us the repressed, school marmish Hawkgirl (wheres Hawkman, by the way?) and hell maybe the young ladies find the bare chested Greek god-ish Aquaman hot. Ha.

But no, my big beef are the inconsistencies. First, since when can Wonder Woman fly? The Wonder Woman I knew only had that invisible plane. Secondly, if Wonder Woman CAN fly, why does she need the damn plane (in fact, why do ANY of the flyers need a plane? I guess its more relaxing at times, like taking the train instead of driving, but really should be calm and relaxed when youre on your way to a distress call? Thirdly, in one episode she gets nowhere while interrogating a criminal. Where the hell is her golden lasso? Remember that truth-deriving device? All she had to do was pull it out, wrap it sensually around the criminal and hed be spilling his uh beans.


Who invited Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter to the party?

Hawkgirl/Martian Manhunter

Boooooooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnng.Would the JLA be worse without them?

I think not.


Why is Superman so un-super-like? and Flash is useful for speed, but shouldnt that be Supermans domain?


Great Ceasars Ghost, what the hell has happened to Superman? Batman is continually coming to his aid. Hes always getting beaten up (even Wonder Woman kicked his rump once) and in this underwater episode, hes locked in these chains and metal headgear and yet cant doing anything about it. He tries to flee bullets and lasers. Why? Its not like they hurt him. Now, correct me if Im wrong, the ONLY thing that can stop Superman is kryptonite. Yes, he cant SEE through lead, but that doesnt mean he cant smash it.

This Superman is a pussy, weak-kneed, hesitant diplomatic drone, always trying to be everyones friend, always avoiding the tough decisions. He makes Christopher Reeves Superman seem edgy. Shameful.

Whats Missing?

Green Arrow. Plain and simple. Always liked that guy. Lose Martian Snooze or Hawkvirgin (I dont like Flash, but his speed is useful although surely Superman is no slouch in the speed dept. especially if he is capable of changing the direction of the Earth). Green Arrow has a real bad attitude, a drinking problem, immense wealth and the hottest girl on the superhero circuit: Black Canary. Okay, he doesnt have much in the way of superpowers all he can really do is shoot an assortment of arrows real good but hes got street cred, smarts, and a personality, something the Cartoon Networks JL is seriously lacking. In fact, lets just get a human-based gang going with other down-to-earth fellas like Spidey, Iron Man, and Wolverine. Id take them any ol day over Superman and his gang of superinoffensivedullards.

Chris Robinson is but a man. His hobbies include squirrel taunting, goat thumping, meat dancing and elderly peeping. You can find the results at

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A well-known figure in the world of independent animation, writer, author & curator Chris Robinson is the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.