JLUCast 20: “The Hand of Fate” with Shag and “The Terror Beyond” with Derek M. Koch

JLUCast is back, with a double-sized episode, full of guest heroes and guest hosts! First up, Fire &Water All-Star The Irredeemable Shag stops by to discuss the DCAU debut of Dr. Fate in the Superman: The Animated Series episode, “The Hand of Fate”!

The Doctor stays on call, recruiting Aquaman and Solomon Grundy to help him defend Earth from an invasion of Lovecraftian proportions! Cindy and Chris are joined by Rondo Award-Winning podcaster Derek M. Koch of Monster Kid Radio to discuss the Justice League two-parter, “The Terror Beyond”!

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Clip credits:

Clips from Superman: The Animated Series, “The Hand of Fate”, directed by Dan Riba, music by Shirley Walker, and Justice League’s “The Terror Beyond”, directed by Butch Lukick, music and theme by Lolita Ritmanis.

29 responses to “JLUCast 20: “The Hand of Fate” with Shag and “The Terror Beyond” with Derek M. Koch

  1. yeah plus being friends with Jason Blood. Which must REALLY SOUR you on magic “uh I can my soul and bond with a powerful deamon? COOL! Oh my power goes away if somebody says a three line poem? NAh i’ll stick to steriods”

  2. Am I the only one having problems with the audio in this episode? The beginning summary of the Superman episode has a few long blank spots where I’m guessing Chris & Cindy’s descriptions would be.

    1. James, we did have some audio problems with this episode. I thought we had addressed them before anyone had listened, but the original version of the file may be in your podcatcher’s cache. If you can redownload the file, the corrected version should come through.

      My apologies for any inconvenience this caused anyone. I listened to the whole episode before posting, so I’m not sure how and when this error creeped in.

  3. “Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice…all that crap.”

    Cindy bringing the fire!

    The fact that this tirade could be brought up within moments of talking about SOLOMON GRUNDY only reconfirms there is magic to this show, and not that kind that’s always dunking on Superman.

  4. Chris & Cindy, another enjoyable episode! Thank you so much!

    There is a lot in your discussions on these episodes that I responded to, but the one thing I would like to comment on is the theme of faith explored in the JL story. Despite the Marvel-ized portrayals of the characters, Hawkgirl’s arc in which she comes to understand the value of faith in a higher power (even if she doesn’t develop her own faith) is rendered very effectively. There is real growth in the character, and, ironically, she affirms that faith is a good and necessary aspect of life (and death) despite being a naysaying skeptic herself.

    The poignancy of Solomon Grundy’s death stems not only from the affectionate portrayal of the character in the series up to that point but also from the fact that Hawkgirl’s decision to tell Grundy a comforting lie (from her perspective at least) is simply a profound act of kindness. Is the cold-hearted truth about what she personally believes needed in that moment? Not at all. Sometimes, kindness means allowing someone to hold on to their beliefs if only just for strength and comfort in their last moments.

    That decision on the part of Hawgirl is an act of faith itself to some extent. It is based on the belief that kindness is always the best course of action even if it means you have to stifle speaking your own truth for a moment. Hawkgirl may not have faith in a higher power or an after life, but she clearly has faith in the power of kindness and the connection two living creatures can share. At least by the end of this episode.

    Hmm, does my assessment skate too close to Shagg’s love magic criticism on the Superman episode? Haha!

    With all the heavy thematic content being tackled in this story, I’m not surprised that you guys mentioned how such ideas seemed a bit much for a kids’ show. However, I would argue that the best and most valuable entertainment for kids tends to not avoid or dumb down more complex ideas but rather embraces them and tries to help kids through the process of understanding them.

    The most memorable stories for me from my childhood are the ones that managed to challenge my own beliefs and understanding of the world around me. Specifically, I’m thinking of “The Dragon’s Graveyard” episode of Dungeons & Dragons, an episode of the short-lived Pryor’s Place about how to handle your first crush, and my first reading of Crisis On Infinite Earths when I was 10 years old. These stories have stuck with me well into adulthood and have helped shape the man I’ve become. So, I am extremely pleased when a kids’ show or movie or book manages to negotiate the handling of issues that are hard to talk about or explain.

    Thanks again for another great episode, guys! Looking forward to the next one.

    1. I agree Steve. It is great when “kids” material helps broaden our horizons, and expand our worldview. I guess at this point we shouldn’t be surprised when the show gets deep, or goes beyond standard punch-em-ups. But by pointing it out, we reinforce just how damn good these shows were on every level of production. No one was ever writing down to anyone with the Timm stuff, and it’s why it continues to endure.


  5. I got a really surprising glimpse into Chris and Cindy’s exhibitionist side. I swear they were going to jump each other right in the middle of the recording, and the fact that they kept insisting to Derek that it was cool and that he didn’t have to log off tells me Cindy likes someone to watch.

    Anyway, I hope next episode is as good as this.

  6. I haven’t heard this much raw sexual energy between hosts since the last Drive In Double Feature I did with Max.

    I really did love the “Defenders” episode of JLU, I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t notice the parallels until later, after it originally aired.

    I wanted to throw my phone off my balcony when I hear Derek say PAD “made Aquaman cool” ARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH, But of course he’s not the first person to think/say that. That said, I really did like the JLU approach to Aquaman, at least how he was in the comics at the time. They simply did it better.

    Doubling back, I really loved the “team-up” episodes of STAS, and the Dr Fate show was among the best. While I would not have wanted to use STAS as a show, it would have been fun if the show had been an hour each week, with one solo Superman story and one DCU team-up. Superman and Rima, anyone?

    Great episode C&C, but please mark all future episode NSFW.

      1. I should have labeled this “blue”, or saved it for the “Fire and Water After Dark” series coming to FW Presents.

        Yeah, I thought of you when Derek brought up PAD, but that was a really popular run of Aquaman. I know it’s not your cup of tea, or mine, but I honestly enjoyed the series at the time, too. But Timm and company did everything from the comics better than the comics themselves, didn’t they?

        I love your idea for the 1-hour Superman show! That would have been awesome! Now go time travel to 1996 and make it so!


  7. How’s this for a Super Dictionary entry?

    The army man is OUTRAGED that Aquaman whisked Grundy away.
    For the sea king to take the big guy makes this commander very mad.
    He finds Aquaman’s actions OUTRAGEOUS.

    This JL tale made good use of the “Death by Flashback” trope (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DeathByFlashback). You can predict Grundy’s tragic end by the fact that, out of the blue, Grundy’s origin is revealed in a show that generally skirts around doing origins of guest players like him — e.g. Humanite. What did seem notable to me was that it wasn’t, say, J’onn or someone who sussed out the Cyrus Gold history – that legwork was saved for someone who, like Grundy, we know as a Golden Age/JSA mainstay: Dr. Fate. Thought that was a cool touch for us JSA junkies.

    1. Good point, Doug Pinediver…oh wait, you’re NOT a pineapple.

      Fate and Grundy have a history going back to the Fate/Hourman team-ups of the 60s. So that’s a nice extra layer! I hadn’t thought about that trope before, but I guess I just didn’t expect a cartoon ostensibly aimed at kids killing a character, even a swamp zombie.


  8. Late to the comment section I know.

    Great episode with excellent commentary. Love the Defenders vibe here, something I also missed first time around.

    And Hawkgirl’s best line in The Terror Beyond is clearly the best line.

    I am reminded of the classic comic paradox though.

    Grundy inside Icthultu’s brain – heroic
    Jean Loring inside Sue Dibny’s brain – villainous

    Or are these concepts too big and ancient for us to contemplate?

    1. Hawkgirl’s line here is definitely in the running for best of the season, for sure!

      And well, Icthultu isn’t a beloved established character like Sue, and he wasn’t revealed to be pregnant, and his body wasn’t burned beyond recognition (geez Meltzer, subtle). So his brain can be a romper room for all I care.


  9. I know I’m super late and still not finished, because three frickin’ hours, but I’d like to say that there’s evidence on this very site that I was a fan of Powerless before it was cool 😀

      1. You know I always liked Cindy better!

        A few random thoughts from this excellent episode:

        – Just listening to the clip of Rainsong it didn’t sound so bad, just a hero gently persuading a civilian not to get in trouble. So I did a quick Google around for the character and from the character images I can see what the issue is, I still want that Astro City like civilians of Justice League show though!

        – Along with all the other voice parts Jennifer Hale has done I mainly know her from her voice of FemShep in Mass Effect, I was impressed enough to actually find out who’d done the voice and remember it even after all these years. With so many voice credits she’s been in just about everything though.

        – Coming from a similar route to the Cthulhu Mythos as Mr Koch I’m a fan of the mix a match approach to it all, which these episodes seem to do so well. Which I think is the best approach considering how troublesome Lovecraft was as a person.

  10. Is it just me or is it weird that Superman chooses to replace his torn shirt AFTER he has met with the Atlantean royal council? I mean, we see him changing in the Javelin after they leave Atlantis, so he obviously had it on the way there. Did he leave it on to hammer home the idea that he was wounded by their encounter with the sea creature? Wonder Woman makes the point that Hawgirl was needlessly rude to royalty – so why wasn’t Superman being improper wearing a torn shirt? And come to think of it, how many spare costumes does Superman keep in the Javelins, and the Watchtower? Do all of the heroes keep spare suits in the Javelins as well?

    I think for me the best moment is the exasperated expression Superman has when Aquaman attempts to challenge him (apologies to Rob Kelly but Aquaman doesn’t stand a chance). I really enjoyed the episode Franklins and it is good to have you back. I really enjoyed both guests – my first exposure to them both but I am sure to check out their other contributions to the network. Thanks again for another great show!

  11. So now you’re saying Superman was trying to show off his chest to Mera too? Geez Clark, keep that kind of stuff for Lois!

    I did love how put out Superman seemed , with his “Sigh” and then punch-the-camera move. Yeah, no version of Aquaman can really go toe to toe with Superman. But how many people can? Unless it’s season 1 Superman.

    Thanks for the kind words, and definitely check out Shag’s shows here on the network, and Derek over at Monster Kid Radio! Great stuff to put in your ear holes!


  12. These episodes were great fun. I’m trying to recall if I recognized the Defenders homage immediately or not. It was definitely obvious the Grundy=Hulk bits, and I think I put it together with Dr Fate=Strange and even Hawkgirl=Nighthawk. But my problem would have been Aquaman. I don’t immediately associate Namor with the Defenders because their first comic I ever read had Hulk, Strange, Nighthawk, and Valkyrie, no Namor. It wasn’t until much much later that I learned about Namor’s association with the non-team. So my own personal history gets in the way. Just how my wacky brain works.

    You all did suggest Superman as possibly a Silver Surfer analog. But did you match Wonder Woman with Valkyrie? And I kinda match Hawkgirl with both Nighthawk and Hellcat. And Inza is absolutely Clea. Could they have given her magic and changed her look in the Superman episode to do that?

    Awesome podcast as always! Thanklins, Franklins!

    1. I’ll admit that I know most about the Defenders from Titan Up The Defense (great podcast y’all should listen to it), but Val strikes me as much more like Hawkgirl in character. It seems I have a thing for statuesque Blondes! 😀

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