February 7, 2010 -
For a show that realistically should have ended seasons ago, Smallville continues to surprise the hell out of me. "Absolute Justice" brings various members of the Justice Society of America to life on the small screen and it does it brilliantly. Accomplished writer Geoff Johns outdoes himself with a story that pays homage to the early days of some of DC's finest and successfully manages to merge that with a show which has finally hit its stride nine seasons in. There was always the danger of this story's reach exceeding its grasp but credit needs to be given to the entire production staff for pulling off a convincing story on those cheap exterior sets (yes, they really are terrible) and a tight budget.
Going into "Absolute Justice" most of us had already seen the costume design work done for the Justice Society. These costumes remained faithful to their comic book counterparts but some fans remained skeptical about how they would look in motion. I was among the skeptics. Once I saw Doctor Fate's (Brent Stait) transformation however, my fears were alleviated. The gold helmet contrasted by the dark blue of the costume looked fantastic in HD. Doctor Fate was brought to life on the small screen and looked brilliant. The glow emanating from his eyes was a nice added touch and his voice demanded respect. If they pitched a Doctor Fate series – I'd be all for it.
Hawkman (Michael Shanks) brought to life was not quite as impressive but still a great achievement. His wings remained a little too lifeless at times. Michael Shanks' voice work while in Hawkman mode was grating as well. I would have preferred if they stuck with his Carter Hall voice throughout the episode instead of feeling that they needed to change it for his Hawkman persona. Stargirl's (Britt Irvin) costume was equally as impressive albeit the least difficult to recreate for the small screen.
Geoff Johns managed to pack a lot of Justice Society lore into this two-hour story. A great deal of time is spent in the first hour unravelling the truth behind the Star-Spangled Kid and Sandman's murders. This gives Johns an opportunity to really delve unabashed into the history of the Justice Society and its members. Al Pratt (Atom), Jay Garrick (The Flash), Ted Grant (Wildcat), Alan Scott (Green Lantern), Terry Sloane (Mister Terrific), Shiera Sanders (Hawkgirl) and even Abigail Hunkel all get a mention here. In the second hour we see former Justice Society members weapons and uniforms on display and a beautiful painting of the JSA together that is sure to become a collector's item at some point.
The JSA history lesson doesn't end there either. A lot of dialogue is dedicated to the back story of the various characters we are introduced to. Hawkman revealing his true relationship with Shiara and explaining how he has lived several lifetimes wasn't necessary to the plot of the episode but it needed to be there to lend authenticity to this universe Johns was trying to build. Fans of DC Comics will absolutely love all of this attention to detail. So if you're a DC fan who has avoided Smallville like the plague, fear not, this does the JSA justice.
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(out of 10 / not an average)
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