And so we begin the new season. Same as the old season, opening-credit-wise. Apparently the producers just used clips of the upcoming episodes in the opening credits until Hawkgirl joined the team and they could settle on one set of credits that showed all seven of the team without giving away Hawkgirl would be joining. Now they have a set series of clips.
Anyhoo, the episode itself? Basically connects two comic book icons, Black Canary and Green Arrow, who have been long-time lovers in the comic book. There's no indication they're romantically involved (yet) in the JLU series, but judging from the plot of the upcoming "Double Date," they're going to be hanging around each other.
Black Canary basically steals the show with some good fight scenes and her alternating between using her sexual wiles in a rather passive-aggressive manner and kicking butt. The bit about her sonic scream kills people at too close a range seems a bit convenient. However, it does put somewhat of a limit on her and answers a question they never seem too worried about in the comics most of the time - why does she need to use her martial arts to beat up on people when she can just "Scream" them unconscious?
Green Arrow doesn't change a whole lot here. He's still obnoxious, kinda grating, and macho. Kin Shriner seems to be going for a little deeper tone - it almost sounds like a different person. The fact that GA's a billionnaire seems a bit at odds with his previous defense of the "little guy," as does the fact that it's apparently common knowledge in the League. Secret ID - what secret ID?
We also get a slightly remodeled Wildcat - in the comics he's a 80-year old heavyweight champion with a limited immortality schtick that assures he's eager and ready to march into any fight and supremely self-confident. Here he's an over-the-hill boxer worried he's losing his edge, feeling outclassed by his superpowered comrades, and seeking out super-powered arena fights. Both versions are interesting, but the latter really much so. And it's a nice choice of casting to get Dennis Farina doing the character - his performance and intonation does much to bring the character out.
We also get Roulette, who doesn't have much to do here and not much of a motivation, and a series of "cameo villains" who really don't do much and conveniently disappear at the end - the heroes don't even really get to fight them.
The fight scenes are both well directed and nicely choreographed. Black Canary effortlessly takes out a handful of goons, while Wildcat effortlessly beats up on three opponents and administers a brutal beating to Green Arrow.
Perhaps the only false note is the whole drug/alcohol-analogy they seem to be making here - "I can stop any time I want!" etc., etc. It's sill not as heavy-handed as most TV "message" episodes, though.
The rest of the League has no dialogue and almost doesn't make an appearance. This is probably a good thing - it's nice to see one of my prediction/wishes from last week proved true and the producers/writers are capable of focussing on new and interesting characters in the League, give them a decent plot, and explore their characters. We don't need the "core seven" anymore and while there is still stories to be told about them and they're welcome back any time, it's good to see some other superheroes getting some screentime.