24 January 2007 @ 12:05 am
Sam's cosmology  





The pantheon.  Click for much larger view.

As we see, the Justice League takes up the top shelf, as befitting their status as supreme beings.  The order of the seven is taken from Justice League publicity materials, which always order them in this way. 

But then, curiously, the Justice Lords (the evil Justice League from an alternate time-stream) are placed on the same shelf, and in the same order (minus Justice Lord Flash [or Reverse Flash], who is not featured as a member of the Justice Lords proper [except for the false Justice Lords generated by the Luthor/Brainiac monster]).

Below the Justice League are the second-tier Leaguers: Plastic Man (a custom job bought on eBay), Vixen (posed below her current boyfriend, Green Lantern) Shining Knight (who should be posed beside Vigilante, who has not yet been acquired), Black Lightning and Isis (two more eBay custom jobs), Robin (Robin?  The hell is he doing here?), Atom Smasher (the lone Justice Leaguer who claims Jewishness as part of his identity in this otherwise areligious team), Green Arrow (mysteriously, not posed next to Black Canary), Aquaman (note that the Aquaman posed here is the one without the cape; this is the real Aquaman), Batgirl (partially obscured) (Batgirl?!), Huntress, Atom, Red Tornado, Hawk, Dove, Metamorpho and Zatanna.

(Sam is loath to place one character in front of the other -- they are all equal [on their shelves] to each other.  It pained him to place Aquaman in front of Batgirl but he was forced to due to space considerations.)

Then, we have the third-stringers, or supporting characters: Supergirl (whom I would have placed in the second tier), Orion, Black Canary (another second-level hero, imho), Starman, Booster Gold (a third-shelfer, even though he has his own episode of JLU, Elongated Man (yes, the official Elongated Man is trumped by a custom Plastic Man, as he should be), Nightwing (Nightwing?) Steel, Wildcat, Waverider, Dr. Light (that's Dr. Light II, not the rapist of Elongated Man's wife), Aztek, Dr. Fate, Rocket Red, The Creeper.

I do not know what system Sam uses to rank these figures.  Black Lightning is a second-shelfer, even though Sam knows very little about him and has not seen him featured on the show, and while he's never seen a Plastic Man comic and he is not featured on any of the Justice League shows, Sam somehow understands that he outranks Elongated Man (comics fans, of course, know that Plastic Man did not begin his life as a DC hero, he was purchased from another publisher; Elongated Man was the pale imitation DC cooked up so they could have their own stretchy guy).  Isis has never been featured on the show or even in the tie-in comics; Red Tornado he finds compelling enough to put on the second shelf, even though the character only has the most passing moments on the show.  Robin, Nightwing and Batgirl get included, even though they are not part of the League (and are presumably either off with the Teen Titans or guarding Gotham City, dating Bruce Wayne (Batgirl only) (I think) and growing old while waiting for Terry McGuiness to take up the Batman mantle).  (And before anyone starts complaining about Robin and Nightwing being featured at the same time, the Robin featured here is Tim Drake, not Dick Grayson.)  The Green Lantern Corps (Katma Tui, Kyle Raynor, Arkkis Chummuck, Tomar Re, Kilowog), although they dominate several key episodes, currently reside in a bench on the other side of the room (presumably the bench is the same relative distance from the shelf as Oa is to Earth).  Vixen is posed beneath Green Lantern, but Zatanna is not posed beneath Batman, although they have been romantically linked.


The underworld.  Click for much larger view.

On the bottom shelf, crammed together, we have the villains, with the most powerful in the center, growing less powerful (or relevant) as we move to the edges.  Thus, Lex Luthor, Joker and Brainiac take center stage (with the Very Tall Darkseid, Doomsday and Bane behind), flanked by Poison Ivy, Amazo, Mr. Freeze and the ultra-lame Copperhead to the left, and Catwoman (seated), Sinestro, Two-Face, Bizarro, Harley Quinn (obscured by Bizarro), and the ultra-lame Mirror Master to the right.

Even casual Justice League viewers will note the preponderance of Batman villains here.  Strictly speaking, Joker, Bane, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn shouldn't be here at all (although some of them put in a brief appearance in a couple of episodes).  It is, I'm guessing, their overwhelming importance to the Batman/Gotham City mythos that warrant their inclusion in the Legion of Doom.

I cannot explain Poison Ivy's outranking of Amazo.  The Amazo character in Justice League is one of the key stories of the whole series, second only to the Justice Lords scenario.  We even have two other Amazo figures (one gold and one clear, symbolizing different levels of Amazo's evolution), which have been banished along with the Green Lantern Corps (perhaps for similar thematic reasons -- Amazo does, after all, leave Earth when it has nothing more to offer him).  Similarly, I cannot explain why Catwoman is seated; Sam is adamant about this point however and has corrected her posture on more than one occasion.  The Joker's distance from Harley can be explained for character reasons (Joker seems to spend half his time distancing himself from Harley) (He's even gotten Bizarro to hold her off).

Reverse Flash, who until recently lived between Harley Quinn and Mirror Master, now mysteriously resides in a box under the desk. hit counter html code
 
 
( Read 57 commentsLeave a comment )
sean_taitsean_tait on January 24th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
Justice Lords
The Justice Lords probably reside on the same shelf as the Big Seven because Sam realizes they're not evil in the same way as the LoD. They are, after all, alternate selves of the founding League and pursued their twisted agenda because they were trying to do the right thing for everyone else, not the selfish motivations of Lex Luthor and Gorilla Grodd. The Justice Lord Batman redeemed himself by allowing his "good" self to escape, which indicates the rest could redeem themselves as well.

Plus they're cool-looking.
Todd Alcotttoddalcott on January 24th, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Justice Lords
Plus they're cool-looking.

Man are they ever. All through that episode I kept thinking "Hey, whoever these evil Justice Lords are, they have a much better design sense than those garish Justice League losers."
sean_taitsean_tait on January 24th, 2007 08:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Justice Lords
All of the superfluous bands and full-length leotards struck me as a nod to the design senses of Jim Lee and Brian Hitch (I'm convinced the Justice Lords are a pastiche of The Authority). I'd link to some snazzy pics to demonstrate my point, but I suck at the whole internets thing.
Todd Alcotttoddalcott on January 24th, 2007 09:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Justice Lords
Bruce Timm admits to being heavily influenced by The Authority.
robolizardrobolizard on January 24th, 2007 08:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Justice Lords
Its odd, Bruce Timm has a much better sense of the superhero than the originals. It always struck me how much more human, organic and almost Daniel Clowes' like in its akwardness sometimes [Disappearing Inque, Tim Drake's status in 'Return of the Joker'] it was than the Batman Animated Series. Fun stuff.

He's producing a film version of 'The New Frontier' right now. It'll probably be amazing, but it would be nice to see him do more original work.
sean_taitsean_tait on January 24th, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Justice Lords
What do you know? I was right. That always surprises me.

What would be really nice is for Bruce Timm to be able to do that Conan series he's always dreamed of, or the Authority series for Adult Swim that I've dreamed of since 1999 (though I suppose there's no way Adult Swim could afford it). I'm also looking forward to the new DC OVAs, but it's frustrating that the last Bruce Timm-style project was the non-Bruce Timm "Superman: Brainiac Attacks."
Todd Alcotttoddalcott on January 24th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Justice Lords
Is that the problem with that movie? Sam and I were watching it the other day and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. It doesn't even have the original voices!
robolizardrobolizard on January 25th, 2007 01:05 am (UTC)
Re: Justice Lords
Tim Daly voiced Superman in the Animated Series but left for his own show instead of doing Justice League. He comes back in this. Powers Boothe who's Gorilla Grodd and Senator Roarke plays Luthor here, while Lois Lane was apparently a Kidnapped regular...weiiiiird...

Its all direcrted by the guy who does 'The Batman'. Its like the Earth-2 of the animated universe... everything makes sense... yet its eerily diffirent...