Justice League Unlimited: Season 2
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Justice League Unlimited: The Complete Second Season (DVD)]]>
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
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This was an excellent way to wrap up what I call the Kevin Conroy voice artist continuity of Batman appearances (which ran from his own series in the 1990s, to guest shots in Superman & Static Shock, the Batman Beyond series (which is also well worth buying) and Justice League. Sadly the Wonder Woman/Batman romance is abandoned half way through the previous season, but the fans have written many sequels on the fanfiction site.
Although still dating Vixen, Green Lantern still manages to draw Hawkgirl's attention away from Hawkman (to my disappointment, I must say. Hasn't John Stewart been busy enough with Katma Tui and Vixen?
Darkseid returns in the last two episodes for the final fight with Superman, wrapping up a conflict which ran from Superman's own show into well-written sequel in Justice League season 2: "Twilight". Luthor forms a new secret society or Legion of Doom, making this season an obvious re-invention of 1978's Challenge of the Superfriends.
Loads of DC characters to enjoy. Great complex serialized storyline.
If you enjoyed the Legion of Super Heroes appearance in Superman: New Kids on the Block (TAS), you'll love the way they return with more characters in this DVD set's "Far from Home." Supergirl's disappearance from the 20th century is handled much more positively than the way she died in the 1986 comic "Crisis on Infinite Earths." I won't spoil the plot, but you'll love it.
At this point, I hadn't written my letter to Warner about the decline in soundtrack music quality and ridiculous exaggeration of the difference between men's and women's bodies in all their DC cartoons. They did listen though. Check out the Legion of Super Heroes show on tv (which I also suggested to be a series in that letter), and the fantastic music opening Season 5 of Teen Titans will hopefully be available on DVD soon too.
THIS IS A MUST TO OWN, EVEN IF YOU DON'T READ THE COMICS.
The animation has grown in leaps & bounds (pun intended) since Batman, and the CGI that began to show up in JL: Season 2 is more seemlessly integrated than ever. The voice cast is astounding, even for the already impressive roster who have worked on Batman, Superman, Batman Beyond and earlier seasons of this show. Clancy Brown really steals the show as Luthor, though, especially with his laugh-out-loud performance in "The Great Brain Robbery". The writing is up to snuff, especially considering that they weren't shooting for the gravitas of the two previously mentioned Justice League finales. In addition to Brain Robbery, there is a lot of fun to be had in eps like "Flash & Substance", "Grudge Match" and the villian showcase "Alive!". And the two Hawkman shows, "Dead Reckoning", "Far From Home" and personal favorite "To Another Shore" excellently inject some pathos, develop characters and tie up some plot threads from the overall continuity of the universe.
The extras are slight but informative (which has become the norm for these WB releases), and worth it just to watch Mark Hammill geek out discussing Cadmus, a season he wasn't really involved in. Basically, if you've ever enjoyed any of the cartoons that lead up to this set, you'll enjoy this. The second best season of JLU is better than most animation out there.