Justice League Unlimited: The Complete Second Season (DVD)
In a world of extraterrestrial invasions, powerful sorcerers, vast shadowy conspiracies and ancient gods, the galaxy's most powerful superheroes return to battle the allied villains and criminal plots that endanger the universe. Two years ago, the world's greatest heroes banded together as the Justice League and dedicated themselves to battling threats too great for any single hero to handle. Since then, they've saved the world countless times from unimaginable dangers. But the price has been high. With their ranks diminished after fighting off an alien invasion and with new dangers arising at an ever-increasing pace, the remaining Justice League crime fighters realize that protecting the entire world is going to take more technology and manpower than they have at hand. A lot more.
In the final 13 episodes of Justice League Unlimited, Grodd recruits Lex Luthor, Sinestro, Bizarro, Giganta, and hordes of other villains to form the Legion of Doom, leading to numerous action-packed episodes of villains fighting the superheroes of the expanded JLU. The core members of the original series--Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, Flash, and Green Lantern--are supplemented by such heroes as Green Arrow, Black Canary, Supergirl, Red Tornado, and Mister Terrific. But even waves of super-beings would be a bore if the stories weren't compelling and well-thought-out, and dashed with humor. It's the respect for the viewer's intelligence that elevates JLU beyond a kids' series to arguably the best animated-superhero show ever.
During the season, Hawkgirl meets Katar Hol, Hawkman, who claims that he and Hawkgirl are the resurrection of centuries-ago lovers, which throws a wrench into her developing relationship with Green Lantern ("Shadow of the Hawk," "Ancient History"). Flash fights a rogue's gallery of his arch enemies alongside Batman and Orion ("Flash and Substance"), Luthor switches brains with the Flash in "The Great Brain Robbery" (inside joke: Michael Rosenbaum is the voice of Flash, but plays Lex Luthor in the series Smallville) , and Luthor's and Grodd's struggle for dominance of the Legion of Doom comes to a head in the final two-parter, which leads to an unlikely partnership against the ultimate supervillain. The series also dips into other characters and realms of DC comic-book lore, such as the Legion of Super-Heroes ("Far from Home"), Deadman ("Dead Reckoning"), the Seven Soldiers of Victory ("Patriot Act"), Birds of Prey ("Grudge Match"), and Mike Grell's Warlord ("Chaos at the Earth's Core"). In the bonus features, the series creators discuss JLU's ongoing Cadmus story line, there's a music-only track of the series' final episode, and the creators do a 30-minute on-screen commentary talking about three late-season episodes. --David Horiuchi