Episode Title: “The Golden Age of Justice!”
Original Air Date: January 15, 2010
I have always been fond of Golden Age heroes, and in particular the first DC super team, the Justice Society of America. I’ve never been able to pinpoint the affinity, maybe because the are less seen in comics and cartoons and seem like something special, or maybe I am just drawn to the different styles provided by there costumes and powers. Either way, I was excited when I saw the title for this episode, but would I be satisfied with the content? Read on to find out.
The teaser has Batman trying to solve the mystery of who stole the golden skull with the assistance of primate investigator, Detective Chimp. The scene seems taken directly from a family game of clue that we all played in our youth, and the assisting detective seems to be displaying nothing other than chimp like behavior (including starting the whole thing off by eating a banana). Somehow the apes erratic behavior reveals all of the parties secrets to Batman allowing him to deduce that one of the ladies in the room is actually False-Face in disguise. The Villain sucker punches Batman, and tries to abscond with the Golden Skull only to be (quite literally) tripped up by Detective Chimp’s discarded banana peel. Batman rewards the chimp with another banana, when the ape speaks in quite proper Victorian English saying,” don’t patronize me” revealing that the chimp knew what he was doing all along. This felt very much like a story that I wrote in sixth grade (though the criminal slipped on a bar of soap rather than a banana peel in my yarn), so that’s probably why I found it so entertaining.
The story proper opens with a World War II era news real showing the exploits of the Justice Society as they stop a European time manipulating super villain, Per Degaton. The team consisting of Wildcat, Hour Man, Dr. Mid-Nite, Hawk Man, Golden Age Flash and Black Canary easily defeat Degaton, with Canary using her sonic attack to send Degaton adrift in the time stream. This immediately caught my attention, because I felt there is no way Black Canary is old enough to be hanging with the JSA. I felt confused, but continued on with the story.
In present Day there is a reunion of the JSA happening at the JSA museum, when Batman and Black Canary arrive to say hello to there old mentors. It quickly becomes apparent that Black Canary is dismissed by the “Boys Club” of the JSA, seemingly because she is the lone female. Some flash backs reveal Batman in his golden age costume training in combat with Wildcat, while Canary is sent alone for target practice. It really makes it seem that they don’t take Canary seriously.
Back at the reunion Professor Zee, a known associate of Degaton, breaks into the trophy room and “summons” Degaton back into existence. The JSA try to stop him at once, but the years have caught up to them and Degaton escapes the team and goes of to assemble his robot army. The ensuing events to try and locate the villain treat us to a few more flash backs, revealing that Batman also felt dismissed by the elder heroes, and the conflict between Canary and the Old timers was more generational than gender based. Finally some of my confusion is cleared up when it is explained that the Black Canary we saw in the news reel was the current Canary’s mother, and that her dying wish was for the JSA to protect her daughter. So a bit more explanation about why the younger heroine was marginalized throughout the Society’s adventures.
The group of heroes finally catch up to Degaton, he turns Batman and the others into really old men, and seems to be on the cusp of world domination, when just as expected, Black Canary shows up and saves the day. The finale was fairly predictable, but much of the exposition was actually quite intriguing. I liked getting a few glances at the golden age Batman costume, and I liked the way they dealt with the generational divide, offering an alternative for Canary’s treatment to chauvinism. It’s not often you get to see Hour-Man and Dr. Mid-Nite in action on the tube so you have to make the most out of the opportunity. Overall, this wasn’t one of the best episodes, but it was satisfactorily different from the average fare. This episode also seemed aimed at a slightly more sophisticated audience than most, and seemed perfectly designed for parents to enjoy with their children.