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Justice League – Starcrossed (Parts I, II & III) (Review)

Starcrossed serves as something of a grand finalé to the first two seasons of Justice League. At the time it was written, Timm and his fellow creators weren’t assured of another season. When they did get another season, the show was massively revamped – repracing the team of seven with a much broader cast of characters, scaling down the multi-part episodes to stand-alone adventures, and building on its own themes. As such, Starcrossed can be seen as a conclusion to this era of the show, tying up loose ends and also serving as an impressive showcase for each of the major character featured.

Flights of fancy…

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Non-Review Review: Justice League – Doom

Batman has always had a bit of a curious relationship with the Justice League, as a concept. Justice League of America was introduced as a title featuring DC’s most popular characters, but it’s easy to spot the odd member out. While the team was composed of people who could move planets, forge objects out of willpower and move faster than the sound barrier, Batman was a more traditional pulp hero – a regular guy in a mask. His portrayal made him the odd man out – the paranoid loner fighting killer clowns and costumed nut-balls seemed a strange fit on a team of “science heroes.”

Dwayne McDuffie was one of the best writers of the team, making a massive contribution to the animated Justice League and Justice League Unlimited television shows, one of the best interpretations of the concept ever. As such, his exploration of Batman’s relationship with the group makes for fascinating viewing, despite the fact the movie occasionally veers a little too far towards the conventional.

A League of their own?

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Batman Beyond: The Call (Parts I & II)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. This review/retrospective was meant to go out over a week ago, when I looked at Justice League: New Frontier, but unfortunately my package was delayed in the mail. However, I thought it might be worth a look back at the first time we saw a Justice League in the DC animated universe.

It seems that Bruce Timm and his staff of writers had considerable advanced notice that they’d be working on a Justice League cartoon show. The last season of Superman: The Animated Series contained animated introductions of characters like the Green Lantern in In Brightest Day and the Flash in Speed Demons. However, the introduction of the Justice League as a concept, a team of superheroes working for the greater good, came in Batman Beyond of all places. Portraying the distant future of the animated universe after Batman retired, it proved an interesting way to look at the team without getting too involved in the personalities involved.

Batman goes Beyond the call of duty...

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Justice League – Maid of Honour

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. With the review of Wonder Woman earlier today, I thought I’d take a look at one of the better Wonder Woman episodes of the DC animated universe.

While Batman: The Animated Series leaned more towards noir crime stories or gothic tragedies, and Superman: The Animated Series favoured high-concept science-fiction and space opera, Justice League offered action adventure stories, typically told in two or three half-hour episodes for a somewhat grander scale than most of the episodes of the earlier series allowed. In particular, Maid of Honour is essentially a superhero taken on a quintessential Bond film.

They share quite a Bond...

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Non-Review Review: Justice League – Crisis on Two Earths

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is one of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows.

Okay, well maybe it’s not quite “stand-alone”, seen as it’s based off a script that was intended to bridge the two animated series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Anyway, some of these movies – such as Justice League: New Frontier – are excellent examples of Western animation in their right. Some – such as Wonder Woman – are spectacular introductions to characters that perhaps never really got the attention that they so sorely deserved. On the other hand, some are just animated versions of a Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster production.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is one of those.

Owlman is a bird of prey...

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Non-Review Review: Justice League – New Frontier

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is one of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows. 

Justice League: New Frontier is probably the best of the animated direct-to-DVD feature produced by Warner Brothers. It’s an adaptation of Darwyn Cooke’s superb New Frontier, a look at the gap between the Golden Age and the Silver Age of comic book superheroes, an attempt to offer an in-universe explanation for the shift in tone and content in the medium between the forties and the sixties. It’s also a damn good exploration of the shift in American public culture and consciousness, exploring the difference in America’s attitude towards the government, the attempt to reach the stars and the fall of McCarthy-ism. It’s also a damn fine bit of animation.

Some sort of League... possibly for Justice...

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Justice League Unlimited – Flash and Substance (Review)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. To tie into the review of Green Lantern: First Flight today, we thought we’d take a look at an episode centred on that other iconic Silver Age DC hero, the Flash.

Justice League and its spin-off Justice League Unlimited were two very strange shows, at least from a structural perspective. They both featured expansive casts (the latter more than the former, admittedly) – most of which were crammed full of characters new to the DC animated universe. Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series had done a great job establishing the two biggest names, but the bulk of the characters were pretty much blank slates heading into the crossover series. So characters like the Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern relied on episodes centring on them to grow and develop character – although the focus was very much on the ensemble cast. However, my own favourite episode of the show is a more intimate character profile of a character frequently overlooked: the Flash.

Frenemies…

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