When Seth Green and Matthew Senreich team up with Geoff Johns and Zeb Wells, you know that there is everything needed for a definitive DC parody. With this pedigree helming the project, they were able to get to get the A-List voice talents of Neil Patrick Harris, Alfred Molina, Nathan Fillion, Megan Fox, Breckin Meyers, Alex Borstein, Tara Strong, and Paul Reubens!
Instead of getting too into the overall story (an unusual element to a Robot Chicken episode in the first place), let’s get into the broad appealing jokes and then spend more time with the fanboy Easter eggs.. The jokes that were approachable to non-fanboys were mostly centered around Aquaman. He has been the butt of both Family Guy and Robot Chicken jokes for years. What I found great was that one of the writers of this, Geoff Johns, is currently writing a Aquaman series that directly deals with these jokes in a somewhat meta way. Besides the Aquaman jokes, the other very approachable parodies include call backs to the much-loved Super Friends cartoon. Much of the set-up of the universe is based on Super Friends and it works.
As a hardcore comic fan, I’m more interested in the more niche jokes.
Let’s go over a few of them here:
Hot off the heels of his Dark Knight Rises role, Bane gets to show everyone what he’s famous for:
As a Green Lantern fan, I’ve put up with some extremely goofy characters over the years without even thinking about it. If I explained that I like and have an action figure for a alien squire-ll space cop…well…I wouldn’t win anyone over to trying comics. Especially if I said I like Ch’p better than B’Dg.
What? You don’t have a favorite H’lvenite?
Ah…the Super Kiss. One of the weird powers made up for the Superman movies. This gets a lot of criticism from modern fans but trust me…the Silver Age was rife with random powers Superman just happened to have (super-hypnosis and super-ventriloquism to name just two). This one, though, seemed REALLY convenient and weird. Robot Chicken masterfully takes this odd scene to the next level of creepiness all while dropping a shout out to the insane golden age origin and motivation of Lex Luther from Adventure Comics #271 (Superboy causes a lab accident that cost Lex his hair).
There sure are a lot of ice-themed characters in comics. Sure DC has a ton but so does Marvel What’s nuts is that the ice villains of the DCU seem to rarely team-up (notable exception in the first Superman/Batman arc: “Public Enemies”). That story was their high point and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ice puns (referenced perfectly here) must have been their low. This isn’t even all the ice villains in the DCU!
When a museum in the DCU opens an exhibit that plays to a popular villain’s theme they must just expect it, right? The 60s Batman show would have the Gotham museum constantly adding exhibits that were cat, joke, and riddle themed! Why not just stop showing this stuff off? King Tut, I get but this…come on!
Here we go! I love the more obscure stuff and Earth-C is that. The Death of Captain Carrot? How can anyone take this characters serious…even at a funeral? Hal just loses it here and Nathan Fillion (everyone’s favorite Hal Jordan voice) really sells the struggle to attempt not to laugh in the faces of these absurd characters. The Zoo Crew was the JLA of this funny animal world. They were they best their world had to offer. Imagine what their version of The Outsides must look like! “We’re so sorry Little Cheese.”
Of all the amazing voice actors on this project, one stands out for me – Paul Reubens as the Riddler. He really sells this character as insane and laughable. He’s practically the Legion of Doom’s Aquaman, if you think about it. On a team full of geniuses, he only offers a built-in mechanism to get caught. That’s what makes Paul Reubens shine in this…he does pathetic so well! His new team, the Punctuation Posse, needs to show up in a comic series somewhere. I think Grant Morrison could make it work.
Mister Banjo is a real character. Seriously. He was an early Captain Marvel “villain” who leaked sensitive government secrets to the Nazi’s during World War II via…his banjo. He even had a very very small cameo in Kingdom Come. This character might be so lame he wouldn’t make the cut of our D-List Discussion except for this Robot Chicken appearance. Maybe we haven’t seen the last of him…
There was a lot more to this story because it was a rare Robot Chicken long-form arch vs. just the quick parodies. Everything tied together at the end and you could tell that Geoff Johns was committed to redeeming Aquaman…just a little. As a big DC fan, I loved this and I’m hoping for a sequel…maybe with Batmite!