Featured Screen Shot
Flash: Calm down Kid.
Kid Flash: Oh please! You’ll chat it up with the cops, with bystanders, with Cold even. No, no way. Today’s the day!
Green Arrow: Roy, you just need to be patient.
Speedy: What I need is respect. They’re treating us like kids. Worst, sidekicks! We deserve better than this.
Synopsis "Independence Day"
July 4th – In a chain of seemingly unrelated incidents Batman and Robin defeat Mister Freeze in Gotham City, Green Arrow and Speedy knock out Icicle Jr. in Star City, Aquaman and Aqualad take down Killer Frost at Pearl Harbour, and the Flash and Kid Flash stop Captain Cold’s robbery in Central City. All the young heroes are all impatient as “Today’s the day”, July 4th Independence Day, the day they get official access to the Justice League’s Hall of Justice.
Crowds of tourist watch as the adult heroes lead their sidekicks into the inner sanctum. They are met by the Martian Manhunter who tells them they now have access to the “gym, fully stocked galley, and the library”. The adult heroes are about to discuss the coincidence of four ice villains attacking on the same day, but Speedy is angry – he expected more than a “glorified back stage pass” and objects to being shut out of the League’s discussions. He surprises the other sidekicks by telling them that the Hall of Justice isn’t even the League’s real headquarters – it’s a publicity front for the tourists which the League uses as a teleportation rely to reach their real headquarters, a satellite called the Watchtower. Speedy then storms off in disgust when Batman refuses to let them go any further.
The League then get two simultaneous calls for help. Superman tells the League that there has been an explosion at Project Cadmus and Zatara tells them that Wotan is using the Amulet of Aten to blot out the Sun. Zatara requests a full League response and Batman messages all Leaguers to converge on his location. Kid Flash, Robin, and Aqualad want to help, but Batman orders them to stay put. They then realise that Speedy may have been right. Robin hacks the Justice League’s computers – “same system as the Batcave” – to find out more about Project Cadmus, but it’s entry just records that it’s a genetic laboratory. Batman has told them to stay away from Zatara’s emergency, but he hadn’t said anything about the Cadmus mission. The three boys then decide to take it upon themselves to solve Batman’s suspicions about Cadmus before the League returns.
When the trio arrive at Cadmus building they find that it is still on fire. Kid Flash runs ahead to save two scientists, but he has to be pulled to safety by Robin. Aqualad then brings the scientists down to street level while Kid Flash and Robin head inside. Aqualad spots a strange inhuman figure disappear into an elevator and Robin recognises the make of elevator as the type of express elevator used in tall buildings – overkill for the two-story Cadmus building. Aqualad forces open the doors and they discover that the elevator shaft descends far underground – at least 27 stories before Robin’s grapple-wire runs out.
At sub-level 26 Robin overrides the security and they begin investigating. Kid Flash runs ahead and runs straight into a troop of elephant-sized creatures (“gene-trolls”). The creatures appear oblivious to the boys and continue on their way, but a smaller horned monkey-sized creature (a “gene-gnome”) does notice them. The Head of Cadmus, Doctor Desmond, is working on something called Project Blockbuster when his head of security, the Guardian, informs him that a gene-gnome sensed intruders. Desmond is dismissive as the alarms haven’t gone off, but agrees to Guardian’s request to investigate. Dubbilex, the horned figure earlier seen by Aqualad, suggests that the Guardian leave his own gene-gnome behind if he’s heading into danger, but Desmond objects and uses the creature’s telepathic link to sway the Guardian.
The boys find a collection of lightning creatures in jars and realise that Cadmus is using them to power their facility, keeping its existence hidden from the normal power grid. Robin hacks into their computers and discovers that Cadmus has created a virtual army of genetically engineered geneomorphs. He also discovers something called Project Kr, but they are interrupted by the Guardian and a squad of wolf-like geneomorphs whilst Robin downloads the Kr data. Both sides recognise each other, but the Guardian’s gene-gnome overrides his thoughts when Robin accuses him of breeding weapons. The Guardian then commands his geneomorphs to take them down.
Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad manage to escape to an elevator, but to the consternation of the others Robin takes them deeper into the facility – to Project Kr on sub-level 52. They find is a series of outlandish red caverns and Dubbilex waiting for them. His telekinetic attack keeps them on the run, but the teen heroes manage to make it into the Project Kr vault as an unwitting scientist leaves. Robin then locks the door behind them. Kid Flash brings up the lights and discovers Cadmus’s darkest secret – a sleeping teenage clone of Superman!
Robin hacks the Project Kr computers to discover that the boy is codenamed “Superboy” and that he has been force grown in sixteen weeks from DNA stolen from Superman. Cadmus intend to turn the boy into a weapon. Aqualad tries to signal the League for help, but they are too far underground for the signal to be received. Robin then sets Superboy free, but Desmond orders the gene-gnomes attached to Superboy’s pod to make him attack the teen heroes. He proves to be stronger and faster than they are so even Aqualad’s constructs only put him down momentarily. Superboy forces the vault open and allows Desmond to enter.
- Setting: July 4th (“Independence Day”).
- The heroes are shown living in their classic fictional cities: Gotham City (Batman/Robin), Star City (Green Arrow/Speedy), Central City (Flash/Kid Flash). The time zones given for each city place Gotham on the east coast, Central City on central time (unsurprisingly), and Star City on the west coast.
- The Justice League have a public headquarters called the Hall of Justice in Washington DC which serves as a teleportation reply for their real secret headquarters which is an orbiting satellite called the Watchtower.
All of it.
I have never understood tourists in superhero team’s headquarters.
The Justice League that is presented in this episode will be very recognisable to anybody who ever watched DC’s cartoons. Aquaman has the beard, Green Arrow has the heart, Batman is a hard-ass, and the Flash is the one with the sense of humour. None of their portrayals it is extreme enough to make any of them a central character, but it is all deft enough that you do not have to think about their characterisation. You know who they are and can focus your attention on the new characters.
The inclusion of these four sidekicks and the loss of one of them was an interesting red-herring that probably worked best if you had not read too much about the line-up. I found the new Aqualad to be an interesting character. His relationship with Aquaman is far more formal, less familiar, than the other sidekicks. He is the one with something to prove, he’s also the one with the biggest claim to be leader. Nevertheless, it’s Robin who makes the running for most of this episode. He’s the inquisitive one and the one with the skills to drive the plot forward. This Robin is as cocky as the Teen Titans Robin, but is a bit more charming with it.
The animation is brilliant. The style is very familiar from the DC DVD series, but it appears richer here. The background in particular are rich and atmospheric.
|Character Site||The Captain's Justice League Homepage||Jason Kirk||4/5|
- 2010-12-06 – Added Ask Greg credits.