A Look at ‘Justice League’ – Part Two

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 concludes a two part article that looks at the follow-up series, Justice League. Part one can be read here.



Season Two

In the final season of Justice League there is a big leap in quality in writing and characterization over the first. Now that the world and characters have been established, the producers can play a lot more and try out some new things.

Justice League also takes a step forward into the future, leaving season one and it’s antiquated 4:3 aspect ratio in the dust and going with a widescreen format much more suitable for my television.

In this last set we have an overt romance, a covert (implied) romance, many guest-stars, a big time betrayal and most of the best episodes of the series.

***

Episodes

Twilight – Part I & II Oh, Darkseid. You evil, evil bastard. When last we saw you, you had murdered Dan Turpin and defeated Superman. Here, Darkseid’s hubris causes him to test the limits of his treaty with New Genesis, and New Genesis hammers back, hard. The resulting humiliation causes him to eradicate his lackey Desaad with his Omega beams! If his personnel problems weren’t enough, right at that moment Brainiac and his fleet of planetary assimilating robots attack and with his forces diminished Darkseid turns to the Justice League for help. If you have seen Superman: The Animated Series then you know that this isn’t going to go over well with Superman. In fact he suggests that they spurn Darkseid’s plea for help and let Apokalypse die. Shocking stuff, coming from Superman. Eventually, Superman relents, and part of the Justice League goes to aide Apokalypse, while the so-crushing-on-each-other Batman and Wonder Woman go to New Genesis to seek the aide of Orion and the New Gods. Orion wants to use this opportunity to wipe-out his father Darkseid once and for all, but Highfather wants to honor the treaty he has with Darkseid. Someone should have listened to Superman at the very beginning because, as is often the case with Darkseid, things are not as they seem. Darkseid’s appearances in the Timmverse really illuminate why he is the single best universe-spanning villain that DC has. He is cunning and pure evil and has the muscle to really put a hurt on the good guys. I clap with excitement every time he appears. This story arc is so, so, so good. It features a fantastic Superman vs. Darkseid fight that gets even better when Batman steps in at the end to stop Superman from going over the edge.

Tabula Rasa – Part I & II Last season Lex Luthor found out he was dying from Kryptonite poisoning but the Injustice League developed a chest plate to keep him alive. Now that chest plate has expanded into the green battle suit from the Super Powers days. I don’t know how I feel about that. With his suit failing from a fight with Superman and Hawkgirl, Luthor seeks out the help of Professor Ivo. Sadly for Luthor he finds Ivo dead, but happily for Luthor, one of his creations, Amazo, remains. Luthor does what you would expect him to do with an all-powerful android that can take on the shape and physical ability of anyone around it — he manipulates it with tales of the evil Justice League and lets it loose on Metropolis. Meanwhile, J’onn goes a little bonkers because he attempted to telepathically scan the entirety of Metropolis all at once to find Luthor. Bad, bad, idea. Bad idea. It’s hard to protect the people when you know that deep down inside, most of them are selfish and ugly. This is a fun story arc, but I can see how Amazo could mimic Wonder Woman’s strength, and The Flash’s speed and Hawkgirl’s wings, but not Green Lantern’s ring. That makes no sense whatsoever. I also don’t really love the Lex Luthor-as-standard-supervillain development, but his personality is so strong and Clancy Brown is such a bravura Lex Luthor that I don’t totally mind it. Also, in this arc there is indirect confirmation of what we always knew to be true — Lex and Mercy were totally gettin’ it on in Superman: The Animated Series.

Only A Dream – Part I & II Even in the animated Timmverse, life in prison sucks. Well, unless you can volunteer to be the test subject of an experimental ESP-inducing program and then you take advantage of a prison riot to use the machines to turn yourself into Dr. Destiny. That’s a lot better than, say, what happened on Oz. What’s the first thing you’d do if you gained the ability to attack people with your mind and escaped from prison? Well, Dr. Destiny is going to get revenge on that two-timing whore who had the unmitigated gall to find a new man while he was in prison. The moral of this story? Don’t get involved with someone whose ex is in prison. Especially if that ex can destroy your mind with just a thought or two. I will say this, when Dr. Destiny first reveals himself, it was super creepy (his face melts off!) and anyone who can attack you while you sleep is not one to take lightly. It’s that primal weak spot that we all fear – sleeping is the time we are most vulnerable, even the Justice League. Dr. Destiny taps into that same bit of anxiety that made Freddy Kreuger so popular. This story arc is really unsettling, with most of the Justice League members’ fears realized in their dreams – Hawkgirl falls out of the sky, The Flash moves too fast to connect with humanity, Superman accidentally kills everyone with his powers, and Green Lantern’s increasingly alien nature scares his family and friends. There are also more hints that Hawkgirl has a troubling morality underneath that badass mask.

Maid of Honor – Part I & II Bruce Wayne and Diana both find themselves in Paris and at the same party (suspicious!) which is fortuitous because at said party some dissidents try to kidnap the princess of the vague Eastern bloc country, Kasnia. After breaking up the kidnap attempt, the princess takes a shine to Wonder Woman and decides that they are going to be best friends and she takes Wonder Woman shopping and clubbing, leaving Batman to investigate the criminal activity. That’s always the way for Batman – even when he’s in the City of Lights with the most beautiful woman in the world, duty calls. It was fun to see the different side of superheroics, Wonder Woman and Princess Audrey are hounded by admirers and paparazzi, as much for one as for the other. Of course it can’t be all fun and dancing for Wonder Woman, especially when she finds out that her new BFF is engaged to Vandal Savage, the dastardly immortal villain of the best story arc in season one. Savage poisons the King positioning himself as the new ruler of Kasnia as soon as he marries the princess. In order to stop Savage, Wonder Woman and Batman break many international laws and basically declare war on Kasnia by going up against their military who are guarding the wedding. There is a fantastic, Godfather-esque scene of the wedding ceremony audio appearing over shots of the battle between the Kasnian military and Wonder Woman and Batman. Very cinematic. Vandal Savage seems to bring out the best in this show as this is one of the best story arcs of the series, on every level.

Hearts and Minds – Part I & II While Hawkgirl and Green Lantern bicker adorably, the Legion of the Third Eye — led by Despero — is decimating the ranks of the Green Lantern Corps (who continue to use their rings mainly as little green guns on their fingers). Despero is played by Keith David, who did the voice of Spawn in the HBO cartoon, and who I always thought should be the voice of J’onn J’onzz. That’s who I would have cast had it been up to me. Nothing against Carl Lumbly, who does a fine job as J’onn, I just always heard J’onn talk with Keith David’s voice in my head, way before there was ever a Justice League cartoon. Despero was the villain in one of my favorite Justice League America stories in the comics — when he came to Earth and murdered Gypsy’s parents which lead to a fantastic cliff-hanger featuring J’onn J’onzz. In that story he was an unstoppable force of nature. Here he is more of a megalomaniacal planetary-wide cult leader bent on universal domination. Hawkgirl and Green Lantern’s flirtation-to-romance transition hits a major bump in the road when the Justice League has to work with Katma Tui, Green Lantern’s former teacher and lover. Hawkgirl is less then thrilled, but she’s not conceding her man without a fight! Man, they got away with hinting at some pretty adult stuff on this show. “Do you still snore?” They never said stuff like that on Super Friends! Oh, and when Green Lantern loses his ring-slingin’ mojo, Katma Tui threatens to pull him from sector 2814 and replace him with Kyle Rayner. That’s humiliating.

A Better World – Part I & II President Lex Luthor? The Justice League attacking The White House? Superman using lethal force on evil President Luthor? What in the Wide Wide World of Sports is a-goin’ on here? In the future the Justice League is running the world with an iron fist – and in creepier, more totalitarian costumes. They are keeping the peace, and keeping the world safe from grave threats… you know, like college protesters in Smallville. But wait! It’s not the future and this isn’t the Justice League! It’s another dimension and they are the Justice Lords. And Evil Batman discovers the “real” dimension the Justice Lords can’t help but meddle in a world lacking their particular brand of order. Perfect timing because Doomsday has just arrived on Earth, albeit a not as scary, normal talking Doomsday. But not to worry, Evil Superman dispatches him via heat vision lobotomy (!). This story arc is a really interesting examination of the tenuous divide between benevolent vigilantism and totalitarian rule. It’s The Authority Conundrum. Even Batman realizes this, saying “What they do is not that far from what we do.” It’s heavy stuff to think about. Everyone cheers when the Justice League comes in to save the day, but what’s to stop them from deciding they know what’s best, better than the elected rulers, better than the people? There’s a lot to think about there, not just for us, the audience, but for the characters themselves. All this plus one of those great punch you in the gut endings. Oh, and lobotomized Joker (and the rest of the inmates in Arkham)? Creeepy.

Eclipsed – Part I & II Would you be shocked to know that this arc features Eclipso? Some US soldiers hunting a terrorist stumble upon an ancient cave and a mysterious black diamond that turns one of the greedier soldiers into… (the never named) Eclipso. In this arc we have one of the more intriguing developments in this series — the appearance of Gordon Godfrey. In the comics he is of course really Glorious Godfrey, one of Darkseid’s minions. And in the comics, right after Crisis on Infinite Earths, he appeared on Earth as G. Gordon Godfrey and whipped the public into an anti-super hero frenzy which lead to the Legends event out of which came Wonder Woman and the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League. Great mini-series. Godfrey is basically doing the same thing here, in the guise of a demagogue talk show host who rails against the Justice League every chance he gets. Is he Glorious Godfrey here too? It’s unclear. There are a few comic book references in this episode, including the “Hard Traveling Heroes” storyline and an appearance by The Flash’s Rogues in a commercial The Flash does for an energy bar. He’s a bit like Booster Gold here. One of the (unintentionally?) funny things about this series is epitomized in this episode when Green Lantern and The Flash are casually having lunch at a diner. They’re just sitting there amongst a crowd of people munching on food. It happens a few times throughout the series. Very funny.

The Terror Beyond – Part I & II Aquaman’s back! He rescues Soloman Grundy from the US Army and brings him to the lair of Dr. Fate! Well.. that’s a head scratcher. But it’s Dr. Fate! One of my favorite third tier characters! I love him for really no good reason other than he’s got a kickass design. As it turns out, Dr. Fate needed to cast a spell to prevent a great evil from breaking through to our reality, and in order to successfully do this he needed a wizard of great knowledge (himself), the trident of Poseidan (provided by Aquaman) and the forbearance of a dead man (Soloman Grundy). How does the Justice League help? By screwing everything up. Seriously. The Justice League does not come off well in this story arc… at all. They are willing to immediately think the worst about their “friend” Aquaman, and they attack Dr. Fate in the middle of his spell-casting for literally no reason whatsoever after breaking into his sanctum. They act like big bullies. I found myself wanting Dr. Fate, Aquaman and Soloman Grundy to beat the tar out of Superman, Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl (Who is a bit of a bitch in this one — telling off Superman for being a fence-sitter and making fun of Wonder Woman’s battle cry. She’s also the first to want to attack Aquaman based only on rumor and allegation. Some friend she is). Such an odd story arc. Maybe it was really the Justice Lords.

Secret Society – Part I & II The Injustice League is out, the Secret Society is in! And this time, they’ve got some heavier hitters – Sinestro, Gorilla Grodd, Giganta, Killer Frost, Parasite, Clayface, and (headhunted from the Injustice League) Shade. There is some interesting parallel storytelling that goes on in this arc as the Secret Society goes through the growing pains of working together with new teammates – including some traditional trust exercises! – while the Justice League realizes that they don’t work together as a team very well at all and go through some extended team training… in an Old West town (?). One thing we learn in this story arc is that the Justice League is really not a team so much as a bunch of really powerful superheroes that come together to fight evil, succeeding mostly through dint of their powers and a bit of luck. Also, when the chips are down they tend to argue a lot, which kind of comes out of nowhere, to be honest. This story arc following the last means it’s four episodes in a row with the Justice League looking less than heroic. Interesting to watch, to be sure, but an odd decision for such a high profile project. Sure, a lot of the interpersonal strife amongst the League is caused by Grodd telepathically tweaking their emotions but he was building on resentments for each other that were already in place. Heady stuff with no resolution. The curtain comes down on this arc with the League still not liking one another.

Hereafter – Part I & II Toyman, Livewire, Weather Wizard, Kalibak and Metallo team up to get their revenge on Superman. On the one hand this is great because on Superman: The Animated Series, the Metallo and Kalibak episodes were some of the best. On the other hand this is not so great because Livewire is terrible, and even though Lori Petty does not reprise her role here, the new voice is even more annoying. And yes, it is kind of odd that a denizen of Apokalypse like Kalibak would throw in with these small timers, but what can you do? It seems as though the animosity and the team work troubles from the last arc have worked themselves out because there are no indications of them here. In the initial battle with the Justice League, Toyman manages to blast Superman with some sort of green ray, which causes Superman to flash into a skeleton and disappear. Uh oh. Looks like it’s time to do “The Death of Superman” story in the Timmverse. What we’ve got here is a lot of great character stuff in the wake of Superman’s *cough* death. The Flash is inspired to be a better hero and Batman refuses to believe it’s true, but just in case it is true he has a really touching little monologue in front of Superman’s grave. Superman’s funeral brings out cameos from just about every hero that has guest starred so far in this series as well as most of the major players from Superman and Batman: The Animated Series. And while Batman continues to investigate Superman’s death, the League tries to pick up the pieces (including an unsolicited offer to join the League from… ugh, Lobo), and a whole mess of supervillains run wild in Metropolis. But, wait! Superman’s not really dead! He wasn’t disintegrated, but transported thousands of years into the future where the sun is now red and he has no powers. He grows a beard and long hair, makes a sword, and ends up taming a pack of mutant wolves. It sounds kind of cheesy but Superman the Barbarian is pretty cool and it shows that the powers don’t make him super, the man does. Superman eventually runs into the last human left alive – Vandal Savage, and he’s kind of crazy after having been alone for so long. Superman finds out that Aquaman replaced him in the League and Vandal Savage ended up not only succeeded in killing the Justice League but he also succeeded in destroying the world. After being totally alone for thousands of years, it turns out that Savage has some regrets about the whole world destroying thing. There is so much going on in this story arc, and the emotions run the gamut from total sadness and despair, to laugh out loud funny, that it’s such a great arc and all so well done.

Comfort and Joy Written by Paul Dini, the sole stand alone episode in this entire series finds the Justice League in various stages of Christmas spirit. Green Lantern attempts to show Hawkgirl the joy of playing in the snow. He shows her snowboarding, which she doesn’t find impressive. She is not a fan of snowmen or snow angels. But what she really gets into is massive snowball fights. That’s right up her belligerent alley. In turn, she takes Green Lantern to her favorite place to celebrate: a dive bar on some faraway planet where the customers like to start bar fights as much as they like to drink. The second storyline finds The Flash playing Santa Claus at a Central City orphanage as he tries to find the kids the most sought after, sold-out toy in the world. Along the way he runs into Ultra-Humanite who, after a perfunctory fight, decides to help The Flash help the orphans. And in the third storyline, Superman brings J’onn J’onzz home to Smallville for Christmas. J’onn hanging out with Ma and Pa Kent is a true joy. “My name is J’onn.” Long pause. “I am a Martian.” This is the most touching of all the stories as a silent and invisible J’onn witnesses a side of Superman he has never seen before – the big kid who is stymied by the lead-lined presents that his parents put under the tree. He also sees the basic goodness and decency in the people in Smallville. These “in-between” stories were always my favorite in team comics. Whether it is the X-Men playing softball or the Justice League having a big holiday dinner with the Justice Society, watching the heroes getting to take a breather and act like human beings and not gods is one of the best things about comics and allows us to get to know them better as people. Stories like this enrich every other storyline that follows. Oh, and J’onn eats an Oreo and Hawkgirl kisses Green Lantern, even if it’s only on the cheek and while he’s asleep.

Wild Card – Part I & II The Joker and Harley Quinn hijack the airwaves to let everyone know that he has planted bombs all over Las Vegas and that only the Justice League can stop him. Taking control of all the cameras in a town full of them, he narrates the action to us, the viewer, as the Justice League scrambles to find and disarm all the bombs while fighting off Joker’s hired muscle, the Royal Flush Gang. I have to admit, I’ve never been a really big fan of the Royal Flush Gang (they are usually played for laughs in the comics) but at least they had cool character designs, as opposed to the ones they use here. Dreadful. Although the idea of The Joker leading the Royal Flush Gang is a nice idea that seems like a no-brainer after the fact. I really like the conceit of this story arc. We are treated as though we are watching TV inside the Timmverse, so in a way, we become part of this world ourselves. And having The Joker sardonically narrate all the action is extremely entertaining. The first episode of this arc uses a very 24-esque device – The Joker has a clock on-screen counting down to when the bombs are set to go off that exactly matches the runtime of the episode. The device continues into the second episode, though not throughout the entire episode. It’s a nice way to amp up the tension. At the start of this story arc, the sexual tension between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl is so thick you can cut it with a knife, and by the end, it ‘ain’t tension anymore.

Starcrossed – Part I, II & III In the midst of a Kaznian delegation visit to Washington D.C., aliens arrive! And not just some aliens, it’s a lot of them. With big, powerful warships. Oh, and did I mention that they are Thanagarian and as it turns out, Hawkgirl was their advance scout? Yeah, isn’t that always the way? You fall in love with the hot redhead with the wings and then you find out she’s spying on you. Oh, and also she is engaged. The Thanagarians claim that they have arrived on Earth aiming to protect it from the Gordanians, another belligerent alien race whose arrival is imminent. But it all seems very fishy to J’onn and Batman. And, as it often turns out with things that Batman is suspicious of, it is indeed fishy. There is no imminent Gordanian invasion. The Thanagarians and the Gordanians are locked in an epic war and the Thanagarians want to use Earth as part of a hyperspace bypass thingy that will allow Thanagar to attack Gordan directly. Sadly, this means the destruction of Earth. And now the big question becomes – in a war between the Justice League and Thanagar, whose side is Hawkgirl on? At first she sides with her people, but as she learns more and more about the Thanagarian’s real plans she’s not quite so sure. As the Thanagarians occupy the planet, the Justice League has to go to ground in their civilian identities. It is all reminiscent, thematically, to the Nazi occupation of Paris and the French Resistance. In the midst of all this subterfuge, Batman and Wonder Woman find time for their first kiss, even if it is instigated in the classic “pretend to be two lovers” gambit. It all leads to a thrilling prolonged final battle between the Justice League and Thanagarian troops that starts in the Batcave and extends simultaneously to the Watchtower and the Thanagarian command ship. And while they might be outnumbered six to thousands the Justice League is mighty pissed off and that evens the odds considerably. Some of the best fight choreography and most thrilling scenes of the entire series happen in this story arc. And the series ends, as Superman: The Animated Series did, on a decidedly down note. Fantastic. The only negative I can think of to this stellar series capper is that in a worldwide invasion scenario, you’d think that the Justice League would recruit a bit of help from the other superheroes running around. And it’s kind of annoying that with all these thousands of Thanagarians about, there was no room for Katar Hol anywhere. Hawkman gets less respect than even Aquaman these days.

***

Overall Thoughts – Series

Justice League is a series that doesn’t often get a lot of attention, not when it is sandwiched in-between Batman and Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited. It seems to be the red headed stepchild of the group. Not having seen Justice League Unlimited (yet) but having heard a lot about it, and having devoured the first two series, I can see why it’s the least talked about.

Overall I quite liked Justice League, and there were even certain episodes that I loved. But there was a certain spark missing from this show. It certainly suffers from a lack of a depth in characterization in a good portion of the episodes. When Batman: The Animated Series was over I felt like I knew those characters. The same can be said for Superman: The Animated Series. With Justice League the only new character that I felt like I really got a feel for — beyond Batman and Superman, who I already knew from their own shows — was Green Lantern. He was clearly the star of the show and he must have been the one that the producers enjoyed writing the most. Green Lantern starts out as a cookie-cutter ex-military guy who is exasperated by the lack of discipline on the team and complains about the pencil pushers in Washington. But by the end of the show we find that he has a lot of depth of character and self-doubt. It’s a very satisfying character arc.

Considering how much screen time was devoted to Green Lantern, it was disappointing to see that on the whole he was not very creative with his ring. There were a whole mess of energy beams and shields. The ring tended to get used like a tiny gun (the other members of the Corps were, at times, slightly more creative). He’s even less creative than Hal Jordan used to be! At times it seemed like everyone but Green Lantern made stuff with their rings – Sinestro did. (Not) Alan Scott did. Some of the other Green Lanterns did. Although in the three part “Starcrossed” finale, Green Lantern made some big fists to punch Hawkmen with and I let out a shout of glee.

(And don’t even get me started on the fact that in the Timmverse HAL JORDAN NEVER EXISTED, APPARENTLY! Grrr. Arr.)

We probably get to know Wonder Woman the second most, and it’s not a coincidence that she and Green Lantern have the most episodes revolving around them. The Flash and J’onn J’onzz, Martian Manhunter don’t give us a lot and stand mostly in broad character strokes – J’onn is the last of his kind and is melancholy, The Flash covers up his fear and insecurity with humor. Hawkgirl is probably the biggest disappointment. She was the most interesting character that we don’t learn enough about until the very end when it’s far too late. And that’s too bad because the brief glimpses that we do get hint at someone very interesting.

About halfway through the first season I started to notice something odd – these people were never out of costume. Early on, Green Lantern was briefly seen walking around his old neighborhood before being whisked off by the Manhunters, and before the series is through we do get to see everyone’s civilian identities at least once, but on the whole these stories are purely costume driven. That’s a real first for this universe, a hallmark of which was always the focus on the man almost as much as the superman.

Something that I noted when I watched Superman: The Animated Series all the way through was that these shows are much more adult that I would have expected. Beyond merely the mature level of the overall storytelling, the Timmverse is chock full of a level of romance and violence that my raised-on-Hanna-Barbara brain still finds itself shocked by. Every instance of overt sexual innuendo and every instance of bloody violence caught me by surprise. I suppose that at this point I shouldn’t be surprised but as someone who spent their formative years raised on Super Friends, G.I. Joe, and Duck Tales, I’m still surprised when things like Hawkgirl getting shot happens. She was shot in the wing. But still, that’s part of her body.

In the final analysis, I have mixed feelings about Justice League. Batman: The Animated Series was all about pathos and atmosphere, and Superman was chock full of a sense of wonder and genuine shock and heartache. Justice League, for the most part, lacked all of these things. While overall it’s a good show with top notch animation, far too often for my liking the stories and the characterization fell squarely in the middle of the road. Of course, that just meant that the exceptional episodes seemed all the more so in comparison.

Justice League definitely got better as it went along, adding more character development to the kickass action. In the end, I had a good time watching it and will probably find myself rewatching select episodes. And really, nothing beats seeing all those heroes together in action.

***

I shall return again soon with my thoughts on Justice League Unlimited. After all I’ve heard about it, I’m really looking forward to finally getting a chance to sit down and watch it, and hopefully it won’t take me another ten months to do so.

 

 

Comments

  1. Y’know, I thought I had seen most or all of these episodes, but reading through your article I’ve either forgotten them or missed quite a few. Which wouldn’t surprise me because at a certain point Cartoon Network got really spotty about when they would air new shows. They would just pop up randomly and sometimes never be repeated. I must have written them a half dozen letters about it. 

    I think it’s time I bump these up to the top of my Netflix Q. 

  2. @patio- I had the same problem you had.  These aired in the pre-DVR days and I missed half of them. 

    JLU gets way better.  Green Lantern gets more creative with his ring, there is a bad-ass fight between Superman and Captain Marvel, and a cool story arc featuring the assassination of President Luthor, with The Question, Huntress, Captain Atom and Superman.  And though Flash feels like an afterthought in the series he turns out to be very important and it involves the Justice Lords.

  3. @conor – I thought for a long time about whether or not it’s a spoiler to say anything about Hal in JLU. Let me just say that at the time these were made, Hal was on the outs in DC Universe. It might even be before he was joined with the Spectre. I’m not sure of the timeline. But yeah, Hal got cheaped out, whether it was a creative decision or something from WB.

    I did think it was odd that John got the starring role when Kyle was the headlining the Green Lantern book at the time. But I quickly grew to love John Stewart. This was really my first introduction to his character. He’s a lovable tough guy. But yeah his ring-slinging kind of sucked in the cartoon.

    My motto (based on the X-Men animated series): You can’t trust the cartoon. (But you can enjoy the cartoon.)

  4. Hal actually shows up in one episode but I don’t think he was named, but he had the character design.

  5. @ Kory – I am convinced that Cartoon Network was toying with us. At some points they would have reruns for months at a time, then show a new show one night – without any promos to build it up – and then never run that episode again. 

  6. I am extremely eager to hear how Conor fells about the finale to the first season of JLU.  That two parter contains one of the most exciting moments involving the Flash I have ever seen.  It is my favorite story from the entire JL/JLU run.

  7. @patio- further compounding the problem was that all of the pisodes were 2 or 3 part stories.  Sometimes Cartoon Network would air part1 and then I would have to wait months to get the second part.  But they did get better organized towards the end and it helped a lot.

    The series finale features my favorite Superman moment ever.  That’s what Superman Returns was missing.

  8. Conor, JLU is really just the continuation of Justice League, they really just renamed the show and kept going. In fact the episode guide lists JLU as being the 3rd+ seasons of Justice League: http://www.epguides.com/JusticeLeague/

  9. *spoilers*

     

    In the season one finale of JLU, when there’s some Crisis-esque shenanigans going on, time just crashes into iyself and people fade away, time periods converge, etc and John randomly turns into a brown haired white guy and just goes "Hal Jordan.  I’m up to speed.  Carry on." and just sticks around for ten minutes or so before turning back. 

  10. The JLU is vastly better than JL and I envy Conor in that he gets to see them one right after the other instead of having to hunt for the episodes like I did during the original run.  The final five episodes of season one of JLU are better than a lot of films.

  11. The Terror from Beyond is more of a Defenders episode than a Justice League one. With Grundy, Dr. Fate, and Aquaman = Hulk, Dr. Strange, and Namor. Give it a second watching and its really kind of neat that way. Also it has been said Superman = Silver Surfer, Hawkgirl = Hellcat, and Wonder Woman = Valkyrie.

     The non-Unlimited Justice League episodes are great, but they do lack something the other Timm shows had. What they do end up being is an exercise in telling stories with so man characters involved. When Unlimited comes around you start to see the lessons learned from doing these two seasons and the quality sky rockets. 

  12. Nice writeup, Conor! Good analysis and work on describing everything. I’m excited for you to see JLU because it’s much more involved. There’s more heroes and it definitely goes deeper with…. everything… The more characters open them to more story possibilities, and lemme tell you…. Those stories kick ass… The Cadmus storyline is still one of the greatest things ever…

  13. Great column!

    I’m surprised that Justice League was as short-lived as it was. There were so many possibilities for the series and the characters. I wonder why it was only two seasons. Are there so few stories to tell that would involve Hawkgirl, The Flash and J’onn J’onzz? Or couldn’t anybody get a handle on them as characters? Maybe there was just so much confusing continuity surrounding Hawkgirl that it was more than just a little difficult. I was disappointed that after two seasons the series was shifted to Unlimited. The limited characterization of League became non-existent during Unlimited. The show was only a half-hour. Only Green Arrow and Booster Gold stand out in my mind from that. But still it is better than Super Friends…   

  14. Can’t wait for JLU but you gotta do Batman Beyond too.  If you want to know the Universe, Batman Beyond is a BIG part of it.  It’s better then you think, Conor, honest.

  15. I really loved that episode with the Justice Lords. Actually some aspects of that episode good into Unlimited…but that’s for the next article.

    I love the catonic Joker as much as anyone, but my favorite is that the Ventriolquist didnt lobotomized….his dummy did. That made me laugh for awhile. Oh and that Joker episode was really good to, it’s always great to have Mark Hamill do anything related with Joker. I’m sure your gonna love JLU conor, cause it really gets even better when we get into the 100’s of heroes in that series.

  16. JLU is quite possibly one of the great comic book cartoons ever created.  I just finished the final season last week, and was blown away by the whole thing.  I look forward to the write up Conor.

  17. Nice article Conor!  I’m really excited to hear your take on the first JLU season.  The star of this show was Green Lantern definately but for me the star of the first seaosn of JLU is Superman.   And you’re right the JL does not get represented as very heroic or intelligent much in this cartoon, they do do some pretty reactionary things without thinking about it.  But it’s a cartoon so i guess it’s inevitable.  Where’s the drama in a Mamet-esque JL cartoon where they have intense conversations in the Watchtower?

  18. Fabulous article. Makes me want to rewatch all of Justice League. Only problem is that I just did two months ago. 🙂

     Hal does show up later on, but it is a fabulous moment when he does.  And there is so much more to the Justice Lords – just wait until you see JLU. It is so well done.  And all of them get way more development as it goes on.

     Out of curiosity, what did you think of the grand identity reveal in Starcrossed?

  19. Oh, and for reference, Bruce Timm has stated (you can hear it in the commentary of "Legends Part Two" from the season one disc) there’s a couple reasons he opted not to have John do constructs.  For one, he figured that people would find him doing boxing gloves and the like to be too hokey and Silver Age-y which might turn fans off.  Also, they figured since John is a no-nonsense Marine guy here first and foremost, he’d be more concerned with pragmatism and getting the job done over being creative and imaginitive.  Thus, he’d use beams and shields over giant mallets and jackhammers though he does use them more in JLU.

  20. Hal did show up in that time-travel JLU season finale right?

  21. Not only did Hal show up in that episode but there was "Hawkman" from the future who was bi-racial.  I wonder who his parents were?

  22. i love these reviews of the old TV series. good job Conor!!

  23. captamerica101 (@Autobot_Hunter) says:

    @Kory  I think that "hawkman" or warhawk, was Green lantern and hawkgirl`s son he was also from Batman Beyond.

  24. I always thought they used Kyle for GL in Superman ’cause he was the current GL in the comics at the time. Then they used John in Justice Leage ’cause they needed a black guy. Also they needed another girl that’s why they used Hawkgirl instead of Hawkman. That’s just what I’ve always thought. Really liked this season, except for a few episodes. I came out of it really liking John as GL and Really liking Hawkgirl I Don’t know maybe I read more into her character than was there. Oh well,

    I thought That Katar Hol  was the guy that Hawkgirl was engaged to but I recheck, nope, I still think he would have been a kick-butt Hawkman if he hadn’t been well…insane.

  25. Hey also have you ever done a review of Batman: the animated series? if not will you ever?

  26. @truestranger – I’ve only done the ones linked above, SUPERMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE.  I might do BATMAN one day… it’s a big project, though.  Lots more episodes than the other shows, so it would take a while.

    Also, I wasn’t suggesting that Hal Jordan should be on the team, I like John Stewart on the team, I was just lamenting that they stuck Kyle in Hal’s origin in SUPERMAN and that he doesn’t exist at all in the Timmverse, up until this point.

  27. Carter Hall, not Katar Hol shows up next season. It’s more in line with the silver age version and not the updated Hawkworld version.

  28. @conor -Okay got ya
     Kyle was actually my favorite while growing up ’cause he was GL when I would read anything DC that wasn’t Batman. But Justice Leage has made me Really dig John Stewart, never been big on Hal Jordan, maybe I’ll change my mind when I read the GL TPBs by Geoff Johns, they’re in my to read stack.

  29. Oh man, i cannot wait to read what you think about JLU, I didn’t know you’ve never seen it. JLU is where I was exposed to The Question for the first time. JLU is on my top 5 list of greatest animated series ever….possibly number 1. 

  30. doesn’t Hal Jordan show up somewhere in Justice League Unlimited? i seem to remember some version of him showing up somewhere

  31. @captamerica101- That question was completely rhetorical, I knew the answer.  I liked when John asked who his mother was and he nodded towards the wings and said "is’nt it obvious", great line.

    @mikegraham6- Hal shows up when the League have to stop a time traveler called Chronos in the episode "Once and Future Thing" according to Wikipedia

  32. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    That’s correct.  

  33. Being a DCU fanboy my whole life, and I sorta hate to say it, but the Timm-verse is in many ways a more superior, streamlined version of the comics DCU. Batman and Superman just nailed it, so in many ways JL was my most anticipated show ever. Like Conor, I though Season One was just ok….but in my opinion, Season Two just knocked it out of the park. Episodes like Twilight, Hereafter, A Better World, and Starcrossed stand toe to toe with the best of Batman and Superman eps. It seems Conor loves the same episodes I do, so it’s kinda funny that his opinion of the show as whole seems to be kinda meh at the end there. Although I think JLU will rock his world. ( And really…does JLU even count as another show? It really shouldn’t. They just added more cast members ) Looking forward to Connor’s JLU review, whenever that comes.

    Oh, and shouldn’t there be a Timm-verse episode of iFanboy video soon? Between the four series, there’s more than enough there for a show.

  34. @EricAD – Why do you hate to say it?  That’s exactly what it is.

    There won’t be a show on the Timmverse, no.  We wouldn’t be able to show any video clips, which really negates the point of doing it.

  35. Oh, when I said "I hate to say it" by that I meant that as a comic fan, I always want the original comic book versions to be the final words on the characters, since that is where they originated. But really, when it comes to the DCU, the Timm-verse encapsulates everything that makes those characters great. I gotta drop my comics snobbery and calls it likes I sees it.

    Too bad you can’t do a Bruce Timm centric episode, although I understand why.

  36. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @EricAD – Don’t be a comics fan at the expense of being a good story fan.  Shouldn’t matter what the medium is.  As long as the story is being told to its fullest.