While The Justice League had an awesome run on Cartoon Network, it wasn’t until Justice League Unlimited debuted that we really saw what an ensemble series could really do. Season One is out on DVD now, and is simply incredible.
What made The Justice League series work so well, were the stand alone episodes that added to a major story arc. But seven heroes can only do so much before they are taxed beyond what can reasonably be dealt with. To assist, the magnificent seven expand their franchise and bring in a whole slew of heroes both old and new to join in the fight.
Here is the breakdown of the entire collection:
- Initiation – in which we find Ollie Queen offered a position in the new Justice League
- For the Man Who Has Everything – Superman has a birthday and gets his fondest wish. This episode is actually based on the comic book by the same name and is an excellent installment of The Justice League Unlimited.
- Kid Stuff – Gag! They should have just called this episode Justice League Babies. Yes the JLU get turned into kids…
- Hawk and Dove – The brother duo are introduced.
- This Little Piggy – Wonder Woman is turned into a pig. Nothing is better than hearing Red Tornado calling “Sooo-ieeeee!”
- Fearful Symmetry -Supergirl finds out she has been cloned, and the clone looks a lot like PowerGirl.
- The Greatest Story Never Told – Booster Gold, you nut – go over there and do crowd control while the real heroes do their job.
- The Return – Amazo returns and wants to kill Lex Luthor. And the problem is?
- Ultimatum – Introduction of the Ultimen.
- Dark Heart – Atom appears to fight nanotech-based robots. This episode sets up the whole “Superheroes are going to take over the world” fear that plays out for the rest of the season.
- Wake the Dead – Grundy rises from the grave in this very interesting story that reminds me a lot of H.P. Lovecraft for some reason.
- The Once and Future Thing: Weird Western Tales (1) – Time Travel, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the old west… what could be better?
- The Once and Future Thing: Time, Warped (2) – Oh yes, I remember now, Time Travel, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Terry McGinnes, and the future incarnation of The Justice League Unlimited.
- The Cat and the Canary – The great team up between Green Arrow and Black Canary heats up as they try to help Wildcat.
- The Ties That Bind – Yeah, it’s not that kind of story, but Mr. Miracle is in it.
- The Doomsday Sanction – Batman finds out something is not quite right with Amanda Waller.
- Task Force X – They should call it like it really is, they’re the Suicide Squad.
- The Balance – Magic with villain Felix Faust and Lord Hades. For whatever reason, all episodes involving magic kind of suck.
- Double Date – Green Arrow and Black Canary end up following the Question and the Huntress as they track down crime lord Steven Mandragora.
- Clash – Captain Marvel. Awesome
- Hunter’s Moon – Hot chicks in space… I mean Mystery In Space.
- Question Authority – Got to love the Question. Fox Mulder has nothing on him.
- Flashpoint – Cadmus, how can you turn on our super powered overlords?
- Panic in the Sky – Under pressure founding members of the JLU turn themselves in.
- Divided We Fall – Enemies emerge to take advantage of the situation.
- Epilogue – This was a great episode, especially the final shot that tied this series in with Batman The Animated Series. There is of course the whole Boys From Brazil vibe that is pretty freaky.
Each episode is presented in its widescreen glory, which makes the stories even more theatrical, big, and grand.
In addition to the well told stories, there are a few Special Features worth noting. First up are the two commentary episodes This Little Piggy, and The Return, which as commentaries go aren’t too bad. What is better is the look at the process of updating and revamping the Justice League to include all of the new characters as well as the redesign that kicked off the season. I’m slightly disappointed with the “Themes of Justice” feature. I was hoping it would allow you to play your favorite Justice League theme song in the opening credits. Instead, the viewer is treated to score only selections from select episodes. While I think music adds dramatically to a well crafted story, I would have much rather had the ability to watch the entire episode in music mode.
Still, Justice League Unlimited is bar none, the best story telling that appeared on television. With Season One, and to some extent Season Two, Timm crafted a universe that stands on its own from everything in the DCU. Even if you never read a single DC title, you will know and love The Justice League Unlimited.
Justice League Unlimited earns a well deserved 5 Stars.