A Look at ‘Justice League’ – Part One

Last year Conor took a look at Superman: The Animated Series. If you missed it, you can check out parts one, two and three.  Be forewarned, as the articles were imported from the old version of iFanboy.com, many of the graphics are missing and some of the formatting is off. 

Today, Conor kicks off a two part article that looks at the follow-up series, Justice League.


While I was a big fan of Batman: The Animated Series, I only made it partially through Superman when it was originally airing before I stopped watching the show completely. This was college and I was too busy being hung over and creating hang overs to keep up with a Saturday morning cartoon. Plus, I really didn’t know how good it was and what I was missing out on. Had I known then I might have done things differently. Though probably not.

In 2001, it was announced that Justice League was going to be the new cartoon from Bruce Timm and company, and I was strangely unexcited. This was a big deal, the first show of this kind since Super Friends, done at a much, much higher level of quality. Yet, I didn’t find myself caring enough to watch it. A lot of it probably had to do with bad luck in that the show premiered on November of 2001 and I didn’t much care about anything at that time.

I do remember tuning in for an episode or two (more on that later) and not being overly impressed with the show in general. And in the pre-Tivo/DVR days that was the kiss of death for a show that was aired at an irregular time, at least it was for me. All of this started Justice League and I off on the wrong foot and I never watched more than a handful of episodes over the course of the entire Justice League five year run.

My ambitious project to catch up on all the Timmverse shows that I missed that begun with Superman: The Animated Series continues now with Justice League, and while I wasn’t blown away with the show like I was with Superman, there were a lot of quality episodes and overall I liked it.

What I’m going to do now is give you my general impressions of the main characters and the first season in general, followed by a more detailed examination of each story arc. If you haven’t watched the series and are worried about spoilers, there will definitely be some ahead.

***

Initially, Superman is the biggest disappointment of the series. The knock on Superman is that he is the stodgy, boring boy scout of the DC Universe. Superman: The Animated Series gave him a heart and a personality that included quite a bit of a wry sense of humor. It was a fantastic characterization due in no small part to Tim Daly‘s impressive voice work. Here we start back at square one — Superman is stodgy and kind of boring. It doesn’t help that Tim Daly was too busy shooting the doomed remake of The Fugitive to reprise his role as Superman. George Newbern steps in here to voice the Man of Steel and it’s clear that right off the bat he just does not get the character’s voice. The voice gets better as the series progresses and by the end it seems as if Newbern has finally found the character and I wasn’t constantly comparing him to Daly. Still, it’s a step back. Season one finds Superman slightly redesigned to incorporate these deep cheekbones that they keep wanting to give him (they pop up again in Superman: Doomsday, another Bruce Timm production), but they disappear in season two and his character design is much closer to that of the one used in his solo series.

Batman is pretty much Batman. I have always said that in the comic books, the Batman you get in the solo books is oftentimes just slightly different from the one you get in the team books. The same principal can be found here. While this version of Batman is pretty much the same one that evolved throughout Batman: The Animated Series, he is ever so slightly more friendly and more humorous — he’s lighter in general. Just a little. None of this is enough to change the character and it is all very much in-line with his previous portrayals in the Timmverse, it’s just that in a group setting his personality has to be tweaked ever so slightly. It had been many years since I had spent so much time with this version of Batman and I found that I had missed him more than I had thought. For my money, this is still the best version of Batman that has ever been portrayed, in any media.

Much to my surprise, Wonder Woman turned out to be my favorite character of the entire series. She’s smart, she’s tough, she’s guileless without being naive, and she lacks sarcasm. She’s just a good person doing the right thing and she can beat the hell out of anyone who gets in her way. It’s no surprise that Batman takes a romantic shine to her (and vice versa), they are in so many ways different and in so many ways the same. For some reason, in the comic books it seems like Wonder Woman has become impossible to write. I don’t know how much of a struggle it was for the writers of this show but they make it seem so easy. I found myself wanting to see more of her character and thinking that I’d totally watch a solo series with this version of Wonder Woman.

Green Lantern is, quite unexpectedly, the star of this show. He pretty much dominates the first season, getting the most screen time and he is thrust into the middle of the best stories. He steps back a bit in the second season, although his romance with Hawkgirl will inform most of the emotional turmoil that the team goes through. This version of Green Lantern is, of course, John Stewart and I quite like the guy. He’s a tough ex-Marine who likes to play up the soldier side of his personality but is also the one Leaguer to form the closest emotional attachments to his teammates. Besides his romance with Hawkgirl he develops an unlikely kinship with The Flash that initially seems contrived as a way to honor the history of Flash/Green Lantern friendships, but as the show develops you can see that Green Lantern sees The Flash as a little brother in need of protection and guidance. It develops wonderfully. Because of all his screen time, Green Lantern is probably the most well-rounded character on the team.

The Flash is a moron. He serves, primarily, as the comic relief for the show and for the team. He runs around a lot cracking jokes and drooling over Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl. The Flash is also a horn dog. He’s the youngest member of the team and it is entirely possible that he is masking his fears in this shroud of immaturity. That’s what I choose to believe, especially since he shows glimmers of a big, sentimental heart. He cries the most out of any of the Leaguers and is also the only one to hug Hawkgirl at the end of the series, which was so unbelievably genuine that I was truly touched. He seems like a big, scared kid in way over his head trying to cope the best way he knows how. His origins are briefly hinted at but here he is Wally West with an origin very similar to that of Barry Allen. The Flash seems to be slightly powered down form his comic book counterpart. Series producer Dwayne McDuffie said once that they had to power down The Flash because if he was used to his full potential, every story would be over in under a minute because a person who could move that fast could never really be beaten by anybody.

Hawkgirl is really fantastic for a couple of reasons, and also really disappointing. She is a victim of a lack of screen time and thus a lack of characterization. I never got a sense that I ever truly knew her other than she really likes Green Lantern and she really likes to hit things with her electrically charged mace. That aspect of her character is pretty great. I like the fact that the most belligerent, hit first and ask questions later member of the team is a woman. It’s not a characterization that you often find. It’s also just a lot of fun to see her smash things with a mace. I really want a mace. Unfortunately, the dramatic and emotional nadir of this series hinges on her betrayal of the League and when it happens we should be as emotionally devastated as Green Lantern is because we should feel like she betrayed us too. Sadly, since we hardly know her, most of the pain we feel is via our empathy for the emotional devastation that Green Lantern is going through. Hawkgirl is a great character that we don’t learn enough about until it’s too late.

J’onn J’onzz, The Martian Manhunter suffers from a similar fate as Hawkgirl. Even though J’onn gets a lot of screen time we never really get to know him. He is sad, he is lonely, he speaks with a lot of gravitas. And because he speaks with a lot of gravitas everything he says seems really important. Kind of like Morgan Freeman. Something about this series that I found really interesting was that here, “J’onn” is pronounced “Jéan” (like Jéan Reno), not “John” (like John Wayne). Also, he doesn’t have ears. You’d think he just would have made ears. Still, J’onn has always been one of my favorite characters and that does not change here. And if nothing else, binging on this series made me miss him in the comic all the more.

***


Season One

Very much like the first season of Superman: The Animated Series, season one of Justice League is very uneven. It features a lot more clunkers than season two and though the animation is always top-notch, at times it’s almost shockingly middle-of-the-road in terms of storytelling and character development.

Still, like every Timmverse project it’s worth watching all the way through because even the most boring of episodes contain a nice moment or two, and even though the show is very new viewer friendly, subplots tend to build from episode to episode, especially the romantic ones.

You can clearly see that for most of the season the producers are still getting a feel for the characters who aren’t named Superman or Batman, but by the end the characters and their dynamics with one another are pretty much figured out. I just wish there had been slightly more character development and slightly less punching.

Episodes

Secret Origins – Part I, II & III The team comes together in a pretty standard way. Aliens trick the governments of the world into disarming their nuclear weapons, thus paving the way for an easy invasion. Of course, they didn’t count on superhero resistance. (What were their advanced scouts doing, anyway?) In the course of beating back the aliens, Superman, Batman, J’onn J’onzz, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, The Flash and new kid on the block, Wonder Woman decide that they work pretty well together and thus the Justice League is born. (Apparently, all you have to do to join the Justice League is to show up in a costume, as Wonder Woman did. They won’t ask any questions or check your references.) It’s very similar to the Starro storyline that brought the team together in the comics. Actually, considering the aliens in this use mind control as the Starro do, it’s perplexing as to why they just didn’t go with the Starro in this case. As it turns out, these aliens are responsible for making J’onn the last Martian. Also, Martians have super long life spans, apparently, as J’onn’s been the last Martian for over 500 years. This three part story could have easily been a much tighter two part episode. Usually I like a little room to breathe as it affords more room for character development but here it’s mostly used for more repetitive punching.

In Blackest Night – Part I & II No man escapes the Manhunters! We delve into a little bit of Green Lantern history as the Manhunters, the soulless robots that policed the Universe for the Guardians before the Green Lantern Corps, team up with interstellar criminal Kanjar Ro to frame Green Lantern for genocide. This is a story that harkens back a bit to Cosmic Odyssey, if only thematically, in which Green Lantern was indeed responsible for genocide. Little nods to the books like these, even if they are indirect, are always nice. They don’t get in the way if you don’t know about them, but they increase the enjoyment if you do. I assume that this particular alleged genocidal incident must have taken place after the “Secret Origins” episodes because Green Lantern didn’t display any of the near-crippling pathos in those first three episodes that he does here. And there aren’t many cartoons that can get away with showing people put into a gas chamber for execution – let alone two big names superheroes – and have the gas chamber activate, but this is apparently one of them.

The Enemy Below – Part I & II Aquaman gets no respect. Not in the comics world (since Grant Morrison left JLA), and not in the cartoon world. This is actually one of the few episodes of Justice League that I watched when it was originally on the air, and it was specifically because Aquaman was the guest star. This episode illustrates the strange continuity issues between the Timmverse shows. Now, I know they aren’t going to exactly match up, but they are all touted as being in the same world so observations must be made. Despite the fact that Aquaman guest starred on Superman: The Animated Series, in the first scene that Aquaman shows up here, it’s like they’ve never met before. But then in the very next scene there is a vague familiarity between them. And then after he leaves, the members of the Justice League start talking about Aquaman like they all know him. It’s all very weird. Oh, and Deadshot shows up here too, hired to kill Aquaman by his brother Orm, who wants all-out war with the surface world. This two parter does feature the most badass moment of the entire season — maybe the series! —  when Arthur chops off his own hand in order to save his baby son from death.

Injustice For All – Part I & II The first real indication that we are dealing with a slightly different world than the previous shows is when Lex Luthor is seen flying a ship around Metropolis, shooting missiles at Superman, which is something I just can’t see the Lex from Superman: The Animated Series doing. Oh, well. Here Lex Luthor finds out he has terminal blood poisoning from years of exposure to the Kryptonite that he always kept in his pocket in case Superman showed up. It’s a nice nod to a storyline that ran through the comics in the 1990s. His affliction gives Lex all the more reason to hate Superman, and it vexes him even more when the concern that Superman shows to Lex is so genuinely touching. After finally being brought to justice, Lex and the Ultra-Humanite escape from their maximum security super-villain prison, which is apparently really easy – all you have to do is take out two guards and jump a wall. While on the lam, Luthor and the Ultra-Humanite gather together Copperhead, Cheetah, Soloman Grundy, The Shade, and Star Sapphire. Thus is formed the Injustice League. (I always thought it was incongruous for Lex Luthor to be in the Injustice League, and not just for the obvious reasons, but more because Lex truly believes his actions are good and just. He doesn’t see himself as the bad guy. He sees himself as Metropolis’… as mankind’s… protector. Doesn’t make sense – in his greatest secret fantasy he’s probably leading the Justice League.) Things really pick up when The Joker crashes the party and forces himself onto the team. I love these pairings. Lex Luthor and The Joker are a great team, like an old buddy comedy duo. This story is also notable for a captured Batman taking on the Injustice League, Hannibal Lector style.

Paradise Lost – Part I & II Hey! A Cassie Sandsmark cameo! Wonder Woman returns to Themyscira to deal with the fallout of venturing to man’s world against her mother’s wishes. Expecting to find one pissed off mom, she instead finds the island in ruins and the Amazons turned to stone by Felix Faust. In order to save the Amazons, Wonder Woman is forced by Faust to go on an around-the-world treasure hunt for some mystic relics. That leads to lots of Wonder Woman (and then the Justice League) having to pound on statues come to life and giant snakes. There is a very funny scene in the second in episode. While investigating Felix Faust’s office, Batman chews out The Flash for toying with a mystic scepter that almost takes Batman’s head off with a bolt of energy. The remaining Leaguers all quietly put down the trinkets that they themselves were monkeying with. Also, the Justice League breaks the “no men on Themyscira” rule in a big, bad way. You’d think they would have called in Hawkgirl on this one.

War World – Part I & II A scientific mission in space goes wrong and Superman and J’onn end up on the titular planet as Gladiators in gladiator games run by Mongul. This kind of thing happens to super heroes all the time. Unfortunately, I have to say that Mongul himself was pretty disappointing. He is one of the biggest, scariest badasses in DCUniverse. Hell, the guy broke Hal Jordan. Here, he’s not so bad. And he’s terribly miscast, voice-wise, sounding more like a Roman Senator than anything else. His voice should sound like broken glass and gravel. In the end, Superman teaches the people of War World to be less blood thirsty by choosing not to kill the super popular opponent that he defeats in battle. There’s a lot of punching in this story arc. Now I like big time action and punching as much as the next guy, but there’s a reason why the first two Timmverse series are regarded as so special – they had both the action and the pathos, and they had them in spades. We see brief glimmers of character development in this arc’s B-plot, involving Green Lantern and Hawkgirl getting waylaid while trying to rescue Superman and J’onn. I know enough about what comes later to know that their relationship will be extremely important in the second season, but if I didn’t already know that and infer things for myself, it would all be pretty meaningless.

The Brave and the Bold – Part I & II Big talking gorillas! I suppose it had to happen eventually. Despite the title of this arc, this one’s not about Batman, it’s all about The Flash and Green Lantern. Written by current Justice League of America scribe Dwayne McDuffie, here we finally get to see The Flash in full-on action. Up to this point, if anyone has gotten a short shrift in terms of screen time — and also relevance — it’s been The Flash. And until now all I knew about him on the show was that he ran fast and that he found boobs really distracting. It got to the point where I was wondering why he was even on this team. Wonder no more, especially after the thrilling sequence that kicks off the first episode in which The Flash takes out a bunch of mind-controlled hijackers (with a little bit of help from Green Lantern at the end). We also get a glimpse of The Flash’s origin which is straight up Barry Allen, but with the red hair and personality of Wally West. There’s also a nice nod here to a famous Fat Flash, Big Head Flash, and Skinny Flash storyline. I’ve never really been a huge fan of Gorilla Grodd – he’s okay, sometimes – but here he is a worthily villain who, like Mongul, needed a much scarier voice. All this and some more hinting on the Batman/Wonder Woman romance front.

Fury – Part I & II Hey! The Injustice League is back, and under new management! Lex Luthor is out as leader, Aresia, a rogue Amazonian, is in. As it turns out Aresia is not a true Amazon, but someone raised by the Amazons after washing up on the shores of Themyscira at the tail end of a harsh childhood full of war and suffering. As you might imagine she’s full of a lot of bitterness towards men. Armed with Amazonian training and magically endowed strength, she is a formidable foe, systematically taking out Superman, The Flash, and Green Lantern before unleashing a plague on all the men of… Metropolis? One of the cities. They never say which. Aresia is basically trying to jumpstart Y: The Last Man, and I can’t blame her because it’s such a great book. The plague ends up taking out Batman too so it’s up to Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl to save the day. This story arc does two things very well. One, it shows the importance of Wonder Woman and how lucky everyone is that she is good and not evil. An Amazonian could be pretty unstoppable if they wanted to be. The other thing it does well is calls into question the Amazonian code. They don’t like men… so does that mean the logical extension is that all men should be destroyed? And does that make the saintly Amazons a hateful people?

Legends – Part I & II A giant explosion sends Green Lantern, The Flash, J’onn J’onzz and Hawkgirl to (Not) Earth-2 where they meet up with (Not) The Justice Society of America – The Justice Guild of America. The producers really wanted to do a classic Justice League/Justice Society crossover that were such a staple of the Justice League of America comics for so many years. Sadly for all of us, DC Publisher Paul Levitz nixed the use of the Justice Society of America characters because he thought the script disrespected the JSA too much and would do damage to all the hard work that DC had done revitalizing the Justice Society in the comics. Because of his infinite wisdom we get these Justice Society knock-off characters which really robbed this episode of most of the nostalgic punch it most assuredly would have had had we had Jay Garrick, Alan Scott and Ted Grant fighting evil on-screen. What we’re left with is a good story arc that pokes affectionate fun at the old time Silver Age comics, but it could have been so much more. The ending features some true, self-sacrificing heroics from the Justice Guild, so it’s a surprise that Levitz thought the script made the JSA look bad. The ending is downright poignant. Oh, well. On another legal note altogether, I wonder if any Marvel lawyers saw this episode because the giant robot that the Justice League fights in the first scene of the first episode looks a hell of a lot like Ultron.

A Knight of Shadows – Part I & II I always liked Jason Blood and his other half, Etrigan, The Demon. He would always pop up in Batman comics and test The Dark Knight’s purely scientific outlook on the world. I liked the respect that Batman had for Jason Blood, and the exasperation he had with Etrigan and his rhyming dialogue. They would always be fun stories. So I was happy to see him pop up here to help the Justice League fight Morgane Le Fey as she hunted for The Philosopher’s Stone. Sadly, The Demon doesn’t speak in rhyme here. Or maybe not sadly, I don’t know what 40 minutes of rhyming demonic dialogue would have done to me. Morgan Le Fay has one of the creepy masks that doesn’t move when she talks. Like V in V for Vendetta. Man, those kinds of masks give me the heebie jeebies.

Metamorphosis – Part I & II A disaster at an oil rig leads a dastardly businessman to try to create the ultimate chemically altered worker who can survive any extreme climate. Working for that businessman is old school ladies man, and Green Lantern’s ex-Marine buddy, Rex Mason. Unfortunately for Mason, he’s secretly dating the evil boss’ pretty blond daughter, which means he has volunteered himself to become Metamorpho! Of course, the anger of turning from a handsome ladies man into Metamorpho and some misleading photographs showing Mason’s girl with Green Lantern lead him to attack the Justice League before coming to his senses. It’s the classic fight-then-team-up superhero situation. Among our regulars, this episode is all about Green Lantern, who seems to always get the best character development bits. Did he make the right choices, being a superhero rather than a successful business man with a wife and money? He is so consumed with these questions that he doesn’t even realize that Hawkgirl is openly hitting on him at this point in the show.

The Savage Time – Part I, II & III The season ends as it began, with a three part story. Returning from a mission deep in space, the Justice League (minus Batman) is caught in a mysterious pulse and end up on (Not) Earth– I’m sorry, that was another episode. They end up on an Earth controlled, in a very Nazi-esque fashion, by Vandal Savage. The only hope on this particular planet is an armor-clad Batman and his similarly attired army of resistance fighters (including Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake, and someone who looks suspiciously like Cassandra Cain). It takes the Justice League way too long to figure out that this Batman isn’t their Batman. Honestly, the Justice League isn’t too quick on the uptake sometimes. That strange pulse that sent the Justice League to an Earth where the Allies lost World War II and is now ruled with an iron fist by the immortal Mr. Savage, was not a pulse at all rather it was the timeline reforming itself around them after someone traveled back in time to World War II to ensure that the allies lost the war. To save the future, the Justice League heads back into the past to set things right and we get some awesome World War II action! Tank battles! Easy Company attacking German encampments! A badass dogfight with the Luftwaffe! All of this was unexpected, and all of this was really thrilling. I love time travel stories. I love alternate future/reality stories. I love the variations in character that get to be explored. The Batman in the altered reality packed a lot of emotional wallop in very little screen time — more than the regular Batman did in the entire rest of the season. With appearances by Sgt. Rock, Steve Trevor, The Blackhawks, and a cryogenically frozen Adolph Hitler, this season finale had it all, and it was easily — easily — my favorite story arc. It was so exciting, I never wanted it to end. And it’s a good thing Batman wasn’t on this mission, he would have punched out Steve Trevor in a jealous rage.

***

Next week: the second season of Justice League!

Comments

  1. Nice article, Conor. 

    I was not a fan of the show when the first season rolled around.  It was hard to catch it every week for me when it was airing, and there aren’t any one-shot episodes.  Thankfully, they changed that format at later seasons and I started watching again (I also caught up with the older episodes after that).

    "Legends" and "A Knight of Shadows" were my favorite episodes. Anything with JSA and Demon Etrigan is a-oookay.

  2. @Conor- Wait until you get to the Justice League Unlimited series finale.  It had the most badass moment with Superman I have ever seen.  And I agree that Aquaman does’nt get enough respect.  I thought I was the only person alive that actually likes him.  I also agree with you saying that Green Lantern was the star, this series is what got me to become a Lantern fan.  But I have to say, I did enjoy The Flash in this series.

  3. OMG that wasn’t an article, it was a treatise. 

    I have to disagree with you on two points: 1) The Flash is awesome. A goof, yes. But that’s his charm. I didn’t have any pre-conceived notions when I saw this cartoon, not having read The Flash for years. I thought he was great, but that may be in no small part because of how much my daughter loved him (he’s still her favorite). Flash gets more great moments in JLU. (You ARE going to do JLU eventually, right!?!)

    2) Shayera – possibly my favorite character; maybe it was her chemistry with John Stewart, maybe it was her fish-out-of-water personality, maybe it was that she was so badass. Her betrayal hit me hard, softened only a little by the fact that she did the right thing in the end. (She did, didn’t she?)

    Conor, I have to thank you for this. Now, how can I get you to put Teen Titans on the list?

    p.s. for the Batman decsrip, I think you mean "group books" for the first one. 

  4. This was great.  Thanks Conor.  Just wondering if you plan on doing this for Batman TAS?  I would love to see you go in depth on that show.  Like you said Timmverse Batman is the best.

  5. WOW!

  6. Conor – They did treat the Flash as a goof in Justice League, but during the finale of the first season of Justice League Unlimited the Flash gets the most badass moment in the entire history of the show.  (With Supes in the season 2 finale a close second.)

    Justice League was good.  Justice League Unlimited was phenomenal.

    In my opinion, Batman TAS, Superman, and then the Justice League shows set a standard for cartoons that has not been meet since and may never be met again.

  7. Nice article Conor. I really liked the Justice League when it was on, I wish it was still going. O well. My favorite arcs from this season were Paradise Lost and The Savage Time. Vandal Savage is just bad ass in my book. However your right in saying that season 2 was so much better than season 1.

  8. I don’t watch, but props on the detail of the article.

  9. Ok, you may have actually sold me on getting this from Netflix…

     

  10. Good article.  Went into a lot of depth.  The first season is a bit uneven, but IMO, it really gets going strong after that.  What annoyed me the most in the first season (and most of the second) is the rather boring way that GL uses his ring.  It is all shields/bubbles and force blasts.  I understand the "military mindset" argument, but come on.  Someone worthy of a ring would try something else sooner or later.  Looking foward to the other season reviews.

  11. This article is not readable on a lunch break.  Whew!  I will say, though, that I love this cartoon.  The first season is the weakest, but by the time the JLU rolls around, this becomes one of my favorite cartoons.  "Injustice For All" is my favorite set of episodes for this season.

  12. Great article Conor. I like it when you did the Superman Animated syposis last year. I really like the Flash in the series. GL took a little to grow on me, but by the end of the series he was one of my favorites. I really enjoyed the Aquaman episodes. There was a lot of emotion for Aquaman (especially the scene where he cut off his own hand to save his son).

    I’m looking forward to the review of Season 2 (Justice Lords). That season eclipsed Season 1 in both quality of story and art.

  13. @Diabhol- Check it out.  It’s totally worth it, but remember it starts slow and gets better as it goes.

  14. I love these articles and wish you would do more of them, Conor.  I’ll also join with the popular opinion that Justice League is weak(IMO, the weakest of the the Timm-verse) but Justice League Unlimited is amazing(and by far my favorite series in this ‘verse).

     

    I also wanted to point out that the reason Starro wasn’t used here was because he appeared on the Batman Beyond(which featured the Justice League Unlimited).

     

    Any chance of doing Batman Beyond, Conor?  It’s a lot of fun and plays a big role later in this series.

  15. I thought Eric Roberts and Powers Boothe did a great job on Mongul and Grodd.

    I think Levitz thought bringing the JSA back to the hokey one-liners and dated rhetoric would bring them down, particularly that line Jay/Streak says about John, going "You’re a credit to your people, son!"  I doubt DC would let that fly with the actual Jay Garrick.

  16. I do admit that the first season of Justice League was a bit uneven for me. It was still enjoyable, but man once we get into the next couple of seasons (especially the Unlimited run) this is where the series really shines. So definitely keep watching the DVD’s conor, it’s only gonna get better from here.

    The only character I had a problem here was Hawkgirl. Maybe I just dont care for her, but they could’ve done someone else instead of her. If they had to make it ‘politcally correct’ and had to have had a woman on there….Why not Power Girl or someone a little unknown? If they made John Stewart a more recognizable name then they could’ve done wonders with Power Girl.

  17. I love these articles. It’s the next best thing to having a friend who will actually sit down and rewatch all these things wtih me. Now we just need to film a "Mystery Science Theater 3000" style episode for the video show. Hilarity will ensue.

  18. @NextChampion-I could be wrong,  I’m not an expert on her character but Power Girl is pretty similar to Superman.  It would be too much with three characters with relativlely the same power (Supes, Wonder Woman the other 2).

  19. This is the best American cartoon series.  EVER.  Of course, I haven’t seen Avatar yet.

  20. Great review!

    I was pretty much the opposite. There were maybe ONE or TWO episodes that I MISSED, and then saw out of order.

    I think that there was and probably still is a huge prejudice against aliens. The League episodes really focused on the humans. Mostly Green Lantern, The Flash and Wonder Woman. Superman and Batman were pretty well exposed, but not overused, because of their own previous series. I think the "Hawk curse" followed Hawkgirl into the series – becuase here was another "screwed" up version of the Hawkman concept. It’s taken a couple of viewings to see how cool it is to make Carter Hall the re-incarnated Prince Khufu, and Hawkgirl the alien. Carter convinced that Shayera is his long-lost reincarnated love. If only that could have been laid out so well in the comics.

    I never got why there was a French slant to J’onn J’onzz. His last name is pronounced Jones. Not Gee-yones. He had as many if not more powers and abilites more fantastic than Superman, and yet he’s pretty much walking background and wallpaper. It isn’t until New Frontier that he gets some depth.

    I was really disappointed when Justice League ended. If The Simpsons can last as long as it has, why not the League?

         

     

  21. @AirDave- I was sad when it ended.  But it was worth it for the finale.

  22. Great Article Conor.

    Really glad to see this.  I had given up hope that these would be done. Really interested on what you think about Season 3 aka JLU Season 1.

  23. I’m suprised to hear you say, "this is still the best version of Batman that has ever been portrayed", not because I disagree with you by any means, but that, as far as I know, you seldom make such definitive assertions.

    Don’t know if it’s safe to say I adored Hawkgirl and Flash by the end of the first season, but definitely by the end of the second. Hawkgirl’s appearances were all the more enjoyable thanx to her being my girl’s favorite character. I think she preferred her over Wonder Woman because she didn’t have to be Amazon-size to be tough. It’s also likely that I enjoyed Flash because I wasn’t jaded by his more serious background within the DCU. This was my true introduction to the character. Certainly looking forward to a more proper introduction in Flash: Rebirth.  

  24. @TheNextChampion – Power Girl shows up in the Unlimited portion of the show. That storyline with her and Supergirl really wouldn’t have worked if she was already one  of the "Original 7".

  25. @Haupt- I completely forgot that Power Girl showed up in Unlimited.  Thanks for making me remember. (I don’t own the DVDs yet.)

  26. Also, does anyone watch the episodes with the commentary on?  Bruce Timm and company are always fun to listen to as they talk about the story.

  27. @Conor – Would you rate this Batman over the current Nolan/Bale version? I’m not arguing, just genuinely interested.

    I’ve only seen a few eps of this, and liked what I saw very much.

    "The Flash is a moron". That made me laugh so hard I nearly spat out my tea! 🙂 

  28. @Eyun – "For my money, [the Timmverse Batman] is still the best version of Batman that has ever been portrayed, in any media."

  29. @conor – I agree that the Timmverse Batman is the best/most iconic Batman in my opinion.  By the time they got into the late stages of JLU Batman was perfect.  When I visualize him that is what I see. 

    I think that is what made Gotham Knight disappointing.  Conroy will always be associated with this iconic Batman and to hear that voice being used for an (in my opinion) inferiorly animated Batman really made it hard to get into.

  30. The two voice actors for Superman in the Timmverse were pretty interesting choices and served their specific shows well I think.  Daly’s Superman seemed to sound like the way I imagine the Supes from the 30’s and 40’s, almost cocky in a way while authoritarian.  The Newbern Supes seemed a lot more touchy, easily effected, and almost emotionally reactionary.  ‘Course the stories they’re depicted in might have something to do with that too but the two voice actors made him a different character in each show for sure.

     

  31. holy moley conor! that’s one big, honking article!

  32. Watching this show got me back into comics after a decade’s absence and to try delving into DC when I had always been a Marvel guy before. 

    You have to give mad props to the creators for having Adolf Hitler appear on a Saturday morning cartoon show.  Balls of brass.  It was that particular episode (notably the appearance of Easy Co. – I had always read Sgt. Rock as a kid) that completely blew my mind and made me say "What have I been missing out on?"

     Great article Connor.  Can’t wait to see your write up on season 2 and beyond. 

  33. Because of this show I now think Vandal Savage is a badass.

  34. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Looking forward to revisiting this on Blu-ray via Netflix.  

    Can’t wait to hear your reaction to JLU.  

  35. I think the 60’s Adam West Batman is the best that has ever been portrayed.

  36. That last comment was sarcasm.

  37. This has now been added to the Netflix.

    I imagine that it’s only a matter of time before the iFanboy overlords are influencing my grocery list. 

  38. @Kory   Sarcasm noted, but I love the issue of Batman the Animated Series with Adam West as the B-movie hero.  That was inspired.

    Conor, this is a cool article; I just saw season 1 and enjoyed it so this was fun to read.  Mostly, though, I think the ifanbase should chip in and get you a mace.  We trust that you would use it for good.

  39. hmmm….i kinda liked this series!! it was good coulda been better. but i liked it a lot.

  40. Awesome article! Now I have to go to itunes and purchase the Savage Time.

    First post,(quietly clapping to myself).

  41. Wow, huge article! I never saw much of this show, only a few episodes here & there but it seemed pretty good.

    One comment stood out — "For my money, this is still the best version of Batman that has ever been portrayed, in any media." — Wow. I think my jaw hit my laptop in shock when I read that.

  42. fantastic stuff, can’t wait for the next seasons!

  43. This was a helpful look back at Justice League. I missed a few episodes when it was on CN and I didn’t get many of these cameos and references because this was before I was a big time DC comics reader.

  44. I don’t know why, but I always thought the most badass moment of the series was when Superman got transported to some post apocalyptic future, then he spends all his time growing a giant beard, carrying a sword around, and driving a busted up convertible through the desert formerly known as Earth. That’s a Superman we can all get behind.

  45. Hereafter was the name of that episode where Superman goes all Mad Max. Season 2. Might be the best one on there.

  46. I literally just finished season two of Justice League and let me tell you- that was amazing! At first I wasn’t too impressed with the show but now I just can’t get enough….I might have to buy the spin-off comics….

  47. I loved the Justice League cartoon, I wish they hadn’t cancelled it. There is no good superhero show on TV now. I only wish the Flash was not always played for comic relief, he’s my favorite superhero and he never seems to get a decent portrayal in the cartoons.