Review – Robot Chicken DC Comics Special by Jerry Whitworth
Announced back in April and featuring the voice talents of Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Megan Fox, and Paul “Pee-Wee Herman” Reubens, the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special is the latest in a series of specials from the stop-motion toy television series following a trio of successful Star Wars programs. Considering the television ratings and DVD sales of the Star Wars specials and Cartoon Network’s role within Time Warner, the partnership between Robot Chicken and DC Comics seemed almost inevitable. Given the viability of the DC Comics brand for Warner Bros and the inclusion of Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer and likely most notable author for DC, to the television series writing staff in season four, the DC Comics Special was more of a ‘when’ than an ‘if’. The Special featured an overall arc within an upgraded version of the Challenge of the Super Friends (where the Joker and Penguin were added to the Legion of Doom’s meeting room), with a cast spanning virtually the entire history of DC’s main superhero stories from Mister Banjo to Bane, we watch as Aquaman is the butt of various jokes leading to his joining the Legion of Doom and taking part in a final battle with the Justice League. The while, viewers are treated to the traditional Robot Chicken formula of generally unrelated comedy sketches (humorous exceptions being the “That’s Bane” and “Real Characters from the DC Universe” bits) and the inclusion of series original characters like the Humping Robot (which appeared in the final battle between the League and Legion).
Regarding the show’s humor, it may have actually been funnier than the Star Wars specials. I would even compare it against the show’s first two seasons which were were arguably its most positive output (though Johns’ input beginning in the fourth season produced some high quality sketches, most notably “Secret Origin of Faker”). Between Bane’s encounters with Batman, Superman’s memory wiping kiss, a funeral on Earth-C, the Nerd’s indoctrination into the Green Lantern Corps and his emerald Selena Gomez, and Lex Luthor’s true nemesis: a red rubber ball to name a few, the show was pure gold. Also, the program had some really surprising bits for its viewers, such as (if I’m not mistaken) Tara Strong reprising her role as Harley Quinn from the Batman: Arkham game series and Steven Tyler parodying his own song “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Johns’ original creation Green Lantern B’dg even made a humorous appearance into the show drawing the ire of a metal banjo wielding Firestorm. One can only hope Robot Chicken DC Comics Special finds its way to DVD sooner rather than later.