Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Justice League Action: Keeping Up With The Kryptonians

I haven't had much opportunity to blog about Justice League Action but I will say unabashedly that I love the show. It is the perfect mix of deep cuts, outright fun, and super-hero action. I am always happy to see when the DVR has a new episode to watch.

And I finally was able to sit down and watch "Keeping Up With The Kryptonians", a sort of send-up of Elseworlds, angsty Supergirl, the Twilight Zone, and (of course) Keeping up with the Kardashians.

This is about as stellar an episode that I have seen. It showcases Supergirl and Superman of course. But it also shows how much of a family they are. And we don't see enough of that in mainstream media ... or even the comics. So for that alone it is pretty special.

The episode opens up with a news reel talking about two huge figures in the currwnt.

The first is 'The Superman', a military leader for the country Kasnia. We see pictures of a crew-cut Kal wearing a sort of 'Red Son' uniform leading the Kasnian Army our for conquest. There is a very art deco propaganda feel to these images, as if ripped from a Rocketeer book.

And then we hear about 'That's So Kara', a reality TV show starring Kara. This is a sort of take on the early, angsty, entitled Supergirl with a sort of feel from the Loeb/Kelly days. With her bare mid-riff, goth eye shadow, and barrage of selfies and emojis, she rants her way across the screen.

Even the newscaster has to wonder what the world would be like if these 'super folks' joined forces in a league to fight for justice. But that couldn't happen, could it?

I have to say, I wail and gnash my teeth when Kara is portrayed as a petulant, self-absorbed brat. But it is pretty funny here.

 They even go into a little run of her complaining about her life. No one appreciates how much she busts her butt, posting every 5 minutes, running a makeup line, and generally being awesome. I love her standing in front of a case of some awards, presumably Emmy's or MTV trophies.

And yes Kara ... in all iterations, people don't appreciate you.

 Kara is at some Hollywood premiere, accompanied by her rather short, rather loud, rather annoying manager Morty. Here, she pauses and wonders if she should be doing something more with her life, like helping people. But her manager dissuades her.

Then her time in the spotlight is interrupted when The Superman of Kasnia shows up to claim Hollywood for his country. Upset to be upstaged, Kara engages in battle. A very slick throwdown ensues with great action pieces. The two are pleasantly shown as being evenly matched.

Booster Gold shows up, confused at how things could have changed forcing the cousins to fight. He explains they are cousins who love each other. At the names Superman and Supergirl, the two Kryptonians pause ... and begin to remember ...

 We then get a great flashback sequence of the two cousins, now in their normal garb, working together to stop tornados in Smallville.

Again, they are shown as more partners than hero and sidekick. It is Supergirl who says 'follow my lead' here ...

 Then the two speed off, flying in the opposite spin of the twister and squelching it.

It is just fantastic to see the two chumming around and heroing together.

The crisis averted, they head to the Kent farm and gorge themselves on Ma's blueberry pie. And I mean gorge, complete with super-belches! The two wonder if they would be as magnanimous if they were raised somewhere other than Smallville.

Cue a mystic television to appear with the opening credits for 'The Mxy Zone' complete with slightly altered but familiar enough lines from the opening of The Twilight Zone. On it Mr. Mxyzptlk wonders about the cousins upbringing as well. He shows how he envisions that Smallville rearing, showing Kal and Kara looking like Jethro Bodine and Elly Mae.

Have to admit, I laughed out loud here.

With a spin of the globe, he sends Kal to Kasnia and Kara to Hollywood.

As happens, somehow Booster Gold stumbles into revealing Morty as Mxyzptlk.

Once Mxy is out in the open, the lights begin to flicker in the minds of our heroes. And the Kasnian Superman is able to trick Mxy into saying his name backwards by having him quote a 'Kasnian' saying that happens to include Kltpzyxm.

Once the imp is gone, reality reasserts itself. The heroes are back on the porch in Smallville.

I have gushed a bit about this I know.

But the ending is so great. Remember, these two were brawling moments ago. Superman sort of stammers about how he would never want to hurt her but he just can't get the words out.

Supergirl stops him, saying she loves him too, and hugs him.

We just don't get this sort of truly familial love and friendship between these two that often in comics. So whenever I see it, I have to applaud.

This was just a wonderful the whole way through ... funny, silly, action filled, but with wonderful characterization of Superman and Supergirl.

Find this somewhere and enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Magnificent episode. I'd like seeing both cousins starring in more episodes.

"This is a sort of take on the early, angsty, entitled Supergirl with a sort of feel from the Loeb/Kelly days. With her bare mid-riff, goth eye shadow, and barrage of selfies and emojis, she rants her way across the screen."

I think it was an intentional poke on early Post-Crisis Kara. A mind-altered, bratty Kara wearing her midriff bare? Come on.

Nevertheless, poor Kara. It's like no one remembers her post-craziness accomplishments.

"And yes Kara ... in all iterations, people don't appreciate you."

I agree. God, can you imagine the conversations between different Supergirls?:

Post-Crisis: Yes, yes. I was an angry brat, I beat other heroes and I whined about my life constantly. I also started to clean my act before getting detoxed, helped save Earth several times over, saved Bizarro World and protected helpless people. Why does no one talk about THAT? Why it is always Dark Supergirl, and evil dad and tiny skirt?
Pre-Crisis: I get you. Hearing some people, you'd believe dating a horse is the only think I ever did before getting killed. Breaking down War World or punching Darkseid are never, ever mentioned. It's like fans only care for the silly or embarassing stuff.
Post-Flashpoint: Tell me about it... Not, wait, do not do it. If I hear the H-word ever again...
Pre-Crisis: ... Will you go Red Lantern on someone again, Miss It-Is-Not-A-S-But-My-Family-Crest?
Post-Flahspoint: Oh, sure, get snarky Miss I-Am-Actually-Younger-Than-Kal. You have been hanging out with Linda again?
Post-Crisis: I did. She's lying low until everyone forgets about that R-nonsense and a competent writer gets to handle her.

"The two are pleasantly shown as being evenly matched."

Yes, and I liked that. No one is being nerfed in order to make another character look better.

And the ending oozes sheer Pre-Crisis goodness. Mxy reality-warping just because he's bored. Superman tricking him into sating his name backwards. Both cousins hugging. It's so fantastic.

I'm happy with Supergirl's portrayal so far, even if she's made few appearances. She's a JLA member mentored by Wonder Woman and gets along with her cousin. And then you have all kind of Easter Eggs like pink and black Kryptonite or Satan Girl.

Anonymous said...

Justice League Action was varying in quality in my opinion but overall really entertaining. This was one of the really great episodes, perhaps the best. Booster Gold is used perfectly as a comic relief. The relationship between the supers are perfect, and it's a great use of Mxy too.

I'm loving this show a lot, so I suspect we won't see a season two. Everything I love dies and another Batman thing takes its place. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Professor Feetlebaum said...

Supergirl's "annoying manager MORTY?

Mort Weisinger???

Anonymous said...

Glad you wrote this up. It's a really fun story.

I wrote a comment about this episode before, but I think I want to call out again that Kara's rescue of the cow in the tornado deserves a mention!

That's Gilbert Gottfried voicing Morty/Mxy. Does this mean I am now always going to hear his voice when Mxy appears? I guess so.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

Morty being Mort Weisinger is genius! Thanks for mentioning.

Gottfried did his voice in STAS so glad he has clung to it.

Love this episode!

Anonymous said...

Looks like the people at JL Action gave a shoutout to the Supergirl TV show season 1. The episode where Cat gets the big interview with Kara and that causes Hank/Jonn to complain about a reality show...entitled Keeping Up With The Kryptonians!