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Monday, April 19, 2010

Justice League: "The Enemy Below"

Season One, Episode Six: The Enemy Below
Written by:
Kevin Hopps
Directed by: Dan Riba
Original Air Date: December 3, 2001

Only a few episodes into the new Justice League animated series, Aquaman (replaced in the original JLA line-up with Hawkgirl) made his debut in a two-part story, that opens up deep below the surface of the ocean.

A Navy sub detects detects some sort of object headed right towards them. After ramming into the sub, the intruder turns around and rams them again, causing the sub to begin to sink.

We see who it was who rammed the sub: an Atlantean cruise ship, captained by...Aquaman!
The sub sends out a distress call, which is picked up by the Justice League. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern arrive to rescue the sub, but they are fired upon by Atlantean ships.

The JLAers cripple the ships, and Aquaman warns them in person to leave. He'll allow them to rescue the crew, but the ships must remain sunk. Of all of them, Green Lantern has the toughest time dealing with Aquaman's attitude:
After securing the crew, Superman asks that Aquaman come to the U.N., and express his grievances to the General Assembly. Aquaman considers that "groveling", but Superman suggests it's "acting like a King."

Back in Atlantis, Aquaman is mulling over this decision:
Aquaman's second-in-command, General Brak, wants to simply blow up the Surface Dwellers once and for all. When Aquaman refuses, Brak gets insolent, and Aquaman's brother Orm warns Brak to remember who he's talking to.

Aquaman retires to his private chamber, where he talks about it to his wife, Mera:
He worries about the kind of world he's leaving for his son. Mera expresses confidence in her husband.

Later, Aquaman arrives on land by simply walking out of the water, onto the beach, and into the streets. He's not familiar with Surface Dweller customs, and has little time for niceties like...street-lights:
Back at the JLA Satellite, the JLA learns that the sunken sub has been stripped of all its plutonium. Green Lantern is convinced Aquaman did it, and wants to go back to Atlantis and confront him. The other JLAers aren't quite as suspicious, and watch on TV Aquaman address the General Assembly.

At the UN, Aquaman delivers the terms in which Atlantis could live in harmony with the rest of the world, but it doesn't go well. Amid arguing, Aquaman storms out onto the streets.

Suddenly, a shot rings out, and Aquaman is blasted by some sort of laser rifle, knocking Aquaman out!

Back in Atlantis, Aquaman's people see the news, and Orm takes command:
In the hospital, the doctors are unsure how to treat Aquaman. They get help from a knowledgeable source: Batman! After giving the doctors some medical advice, Aquaman comes around.

Aquaman is accused by Green Lantern of taking the plutonium, but Aquaman says he ordered no such thing. He begins to leave, stopped only by a request from Batman.

Moments later, we see Aquaman back on a stretcher, being wheeled out of the hospital in a flurry of activity. A few blocks away, we see Aquaman's would-be assassin re-emerge, which is caught by the JLA, laying-in-wait.

We see that the Aquaman being shot at again this time is not Aquaman:
While the JLAers try to capture the assassin, Aquaman is impatient to leave the hospital and get home. Green Lantern orders him to stay put, which Aquaman responds to with a haymaker to Lantern's jaw:
The JLAers finally capture the hitman, and it turns out its one of Batman's old foes, Deadshot. They ask Deadshot who hired him, but he won't talk. After ignoring Superman and Wonder Woman, Batman takes over the interrogation:
This is a wonderful scene: we never hear what Batman says to Deadshot, but its enough to make Deadshot give up information immediately.

Deadshot is told he was paid in Spanish dubloons, and that means they came from...Atlantis!

Back in Atlantis, Orm is riling up his troops, preparing them for a full-scale attack on the Surface World. Aquaman barges in, demanding Orm stand down, but Orm has pulled off a coup:
...to be continued!

This was the debut of Aquaman's then-new look in animated form, and while I was never much of a fan of this version of the Sea King, the people behind Justice League made some modifications--both in terms of look and character motivation--that made it work a bit more, for me at least.

As solid as this episode is, the concluding chapter is even better, which we'll get to tomorrow!

By the way: Today is the 1,500th post on The Aquaman Shrine. Who knew there'd be so much to say?


David J. Cutler said...

Man oh man, was this really 9 years ago?

Anonymous said...

I just downloaded and watched this off Itunes a couple weeks ago, not a shabby episode, with the King would get more airtime in general in animations

Richard said...

Eh. That wasn't Aquaman, it was Namor with blond hair.

Earth 2 Chris said...

I'm in the same boat Rob. I prefer classic Aquaman, but JLU's version of angry, hook-handed Orin was the best. But then again, Timm and company (and his proteges) have outdone the DCU proper in almost every way since 1992.


Anonymous said...

1500th post? Congratulations! I can't wait for the next 1500.

Wings1295 said...

I prefer the B&B Aquaman these days, but great review of a great episode!

And congrats on 1,500!!! Here's to many, many more!