Maid of Honor | Episode 33

Aired: October 18th 2003
Heroes: Wonder Woman and Batman
Supporting: General Wells, Princess Audrey II, Sroya Bashir, and King Gustev
Villains: Vandal Savage and Colonel Vox
Objects: Eiffel Tower, Utility Belt (Batarang, Grappling Gun, Gas Balls, and Handcuffs) and Justice League Communication Link
Places: Paris, Kaznia, STAR Labs Europe, and Platform One
Written By: Dwayne McDuffie
Directed By: Dan Riba

Maid of Honor | Episode 34

Aired: October 18th 2003
Heroes: Wonder Woman, Batman, J'onn J'onzz, Green Lantern and Flash
Supporting: Princess Audrey II and King Gustev
Villains: Vandal Savage and Colonel Vox
Objects: Lasso of Truth, Batwing, Utility Belt (Camera, Exploding Batarang, Blowtorch, Grappling Gun, Batarang, and Bola), Justice League Communication Link, Power Ring, and Javelin
Places: Kaznia, Justice League Watchtower, and Platform One
Written By: Dwayne McDuffie
Directed By: Dan Riba


Review written by Mahoney

The second season of Justice League for the most part takes advantage of the fact that the episodes are aired in one-hour blocks. The two parters are written, essentially, as a single episode, and work best run together. For example, Only a Dream isn't nearly as effective if you have to wait a week between the two episodes, because the first episode builds up the creepy atmosphere that pays off in part two.

In Maid of Honor, though, the writers put the half-hour, serial format to work. One storyline still flows through both episodes, but the cozy, character-centric first part takes time to showcase Wonder Woman and, to a lesser extent, her relationship with Batman; while the more panoramic, plot-driven second part brings other members of the JL team in for the usual action and drama.

Diana is in general a very quiet character. Of course, she's royalty, and well-bred royalty at that, which means she tends toward professionalism and reserved behavior. This is appropriate for a well-bred princess, but not so great for interesting characterization. The first of these two episodes opens up the character a bit by showing us a different side of the proper princess.

And, wouldn't you know it, the princess likes to party. She doesn't care for the paparazzi, but Diana has an obvious blast doing everything else; dancing with a handsome stranger (Bruce Wayne, natch); shopping; ditching Audrey's other body guards; getting into an exclusive club thanks to her own famous face; trolling for buff guys; spending all night out with a footloose, spoiled, but fun fellow princess.

This is much different than the Diana who takes everything so seriously the rest of the time. It's fun to see. It's also fun to see how the episode furthers the attraction hinted at last season between she and Batman. Like Diana, Batman's non-superhero persona is wealthy, mannered, and deft at shmoozing with an elite crowd. They both seem to enjoy it too. Their dance together at the beginning of the episode was very Katharine Hepburn/Cary Grant: stylish and charming, with a definite overtone of isn't-it-great-to-be-one-of-the-beautiful-people. It's easy to see why they connect.

Diana's proper upbringing doesn't keep her from verbally attacking Audrey's fiance, either, when he turns out to be Vandal Savage. Savage proved himself a dangerous villain in last season's The Savage Time, and Diana's suspicion of him is understandable and well founded. Diana and Batman investigate Savage together, but at the end of part one, Diana is captured.

Part two has a completely different feel from episode one. Characterization is downgraded so that plot can take over. Savage's plan is unveiled (and so is his back story, by the way). Batman stays in Kaznia to rescue Wonder Woman, while Green Lantern, J'onn, and Flash go to the international space station to try to shut down the weapon he plans to use to force the leaders of the world to accept him as their conqueror.

The fight scenes have some great energy. Batman frees Wonder Woman, and they make a great team as they take down Savage and his henchmen on the ground. Up in space, J'onn's snake-like shape shifting during battle is visually very cool. The best sequence involves Flash getting flushed out an airlock, it plays almost perfectly from the stunned look on John's face when he sees Flash float by the window, to the way Flash gets rid of the oxygen deprivation induced chill.

There were problems with the episodes. The animation seemed a little off, there were times Diana didn't look like an Amazon, she looked like an absolute giant. The blending of the scenes showing Diana fighting her way to Kaznia and the wedding between Audrey and Savage didn't quite work; the replacement of battle sounds with music and dialogue was particularly awkward. And I had several "but why didn't he..." "couldn't they have just..." and "don't do that..." moments, in terms of plot. It's not the strongest episode of the two seasons so far. But it was great to see Diana fleshed out, and to see the connection between she and Batman expanded upon. By the way, did I mention that our princess is nobody's fool? Last scene:

Diana: "You know, we never did get to finish our dance."
Batman: "I don't know what you're talking about."
Diana: "If you say so. But you're still taking me dancing."