In the last season of the Justice League cartoon series based on the Batman and Superman Animated universe, the focus falls back on the villains as Lex Luthor and Gorilla Grodd recruits several of them into an evil analogue of the Justice League called, the Legion of Doom so they can coordinate their efforts and defeat the heroes. But while fending off the Justice League forever, seems like a likely outcome, it seems that keeping this group intact and adverting a super villain civil war is the number one priority. Which of Grodd and Luthor will ascend to domination of the Legion?
This season was the last one of the Justice League and tied up most loose ends that had been left in the first season of
Justice League Unlimited. As well as featuring villains more than ever, this season also offered a look back at some favourite characters and themes from previous seasons. For example, the rivalry between Black Canary and the Huntress is fully explored and left undecided in
Grudge Match. The other main rivalry that of Vixen and Hawkgirl for the love of John Stewart is decided and explored in at least two episodes,
Shadow of the Hawk and
Other elements of the DC Universe that had not been featured before also were explored. For example, in
Chaos at the Earth’s Core, the world of Skartaris and the old DC character, Warlord, are visited by the Justice League and a few villains. That episode in particular was quite fun as it created another female character rivalry that of Supergirl and Stargirl. Speaking of Supergirl, she also got the chance to visit another aspect of the DC Universe, the 31st century and the Legion of Super Heroes.
This season’s stories were interesting and good in general and focused a lot on character interaction. It seems that after displaying so many characters in the previous season, this one gave a more intimate look at some of them who had barely made waves. For example, the episode
Patriot Act, used characters from the Seven Soldiers of Victory. In this continuity, this team of powerless heroes did not exist, but their valour and courage were well showcased as they went against General Eiling, who still had a grudge from the previous season. In particular, I liked how Vigilante and the Shining Knight were portrayed. These are true heroes worthy of being members of the League. In a sense, stories such as these were important and to balance the emphasis that was given to the original Justice League members in
Justice League Unlimited Season one. Here, most Leaguers, such as Vixen and Green Arrow, are as competent as the originals.
Only one episode focused on DC Comics’ main characters, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. In
Dead Reckoning, the League, teamed with Deadman, and visiting another exotic DC Comics’ locale, Nanda Parbat and introduced a proxy villain, Stingray, based on Black Manta, the Aquaman villain. Aquaman and related characters, such as Black Manta were not available for this season because their licenses were tied up with the Aquaman television series in development.
Aquaman’s absence from the last season was the greatest fault of this season. Aquaman’s disappearance was felt very strongly in the last act of the last episode, Destroyer, where leaguers from various eras or themes, were shown leaving the new Earth-based headquarter of the League as teams. It was quite inspired, as members of the Justice Society in the comic books, Hourman and Dr Mid-nite, were paired, Leaguers from the Giffen and Dematteis era, Fire, Ice, Elongated Man and Metamorpho also appeared together. There was even a shot of the Detroit-era Justice Leaguers, Vixen, Vibe, Commander Steel and Gipsy. As the roll call continued, members of the League from the Satellite years, such as Zatanna, The Red Tornado, Black Canary and Green Arrow and the Atom appeared. Finally, the roll call centered on the main original members of the team, The Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl and Flash only to end with a shot of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. From these, Aquaman’s presence was sorely missed.
Other original members of the Justice League, also got a lot of airplay though. Hawkgirl, had two episodes related to her life on Earth and possible past incarnation. While it was a nice touch to tie in the comic book continuity with the cartoon series, it felt forced. John Stewart, the producer’s favourite Green Lantern was on hand in several episodes, always a bad ass soldier. Every time I watch how much a strong character he was in this series and how indispensable he was, I can’t help but wonder when the comic book version will match his famous cartoon namesake. He really is a core character throughout this series, with several major story arcs focused on him and the many women of his life!
The animation continued to be great here, with probably a little more budget for animating Hawkgirl’s wings and letting Stewart create constructs. As there were so many characters, especially on the villains’ side, one can guess that there was a very good budget for creating great animation this season. 3D elements, continued to be mixed in. I’ve never like how they were integrated in the Justice League. There clearly was a lack of effort to make everything smooth.
The DVD commentaries and extras are interesting, but most focus on the previous season with the Cadmus conspiracy theory storyline. While the comments for that were cool, it would have been better to add them to the extras of that season’s DVD collection.
The graphic design on the package continues to astound me. The characters displayed within the DVD interface and the package are plucked randomly from any season of the Justice League and do not reflect the stories inside. For example, Supergirl’s costume, on the front cover is the wrong one and Solomon Grundi is featured on disc one media. It seems like the designers had a whole library of elements left unused from previous collections and just used them here. As such, it makes the package and the DVD art less special and more forgettable.
Justice League Unlimited: The Complete Second Season
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
Sound Quality: Dolby Surround Stereo - English
DVD Features: Audio Commentary
Music Only Track, Other
Packaging Type: Amaray Case
Media Quantity: 2
Soundtrack Language: English