The gloves come off in season 2
Simon | Brampton, ON | 03/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Justice League season 1 was good, but flawed. Characters lacked depth, dialogue was occasionally cliche, plot holes were everywhere, stories felt padded to fill the running time. With season 2, the creative staff went back and did some major tweaking. The end result is not only a much better season all around, but one that almost feels like a brand new series.
Where to begin? Superman is finally back to his super-powered self, and the season opener pits him against his long-time nemesis Darkseid in an epic-yet-personal space opera. Green Lantern begins to get more imaginative with his energy ring, and Wonder Woman is less a powerhouse barbie and more a rounded character. Continuity has a heavy role this season, with plot threads from both season 1 and the prematurely cancelled Superman series finding continuation here.
The stories themselves are an interesting yet strong mix. You have your standard action stories, but also some downright creepy moments (Only a Dream, Wild Card) and others that are just randomly bizzare (Hereafter). A holiday-themed episode lightens the mood just before everything hits the fan with the season finale "Starcrossed," which if you've bought the previous dvd already know what it means for a certain Justice Leaguer. Overall there's definitely some stories fans will prefer more than others, but there's really not a dud in the bunch. It helps that strong character moments really hold everything together and give the stories a more personal edge. That and the tons of unexpected cameos and nods to the source material.
Animation is much improved over season 1, and the distracting CG elements are better implemented. It helps that the season is animated in true widescreen, and if Warner Bros. keeps its promise, that's what we'll be seeing on this set. Beyond all that, this is really a show that appeals to both kids and adults. Cartoon Network had a great hands-off policy, and season 2 pulls no punches. Kids will love the action and costumed characters, adults will do double-takes at the implied deaths, veiled innuendo, and all-around maturity. Bravo.
Below is a list of the 26 episodes for those interested. If you have any interest in superhero-related material, you will not be disappointed with this set. By far the best of American animation.
Twilight (2 parts)
Tabula Rasa (2 parts)
Only a Dream (2 parts)
Maid of Honor (2 parts)
Hearts and Minds (2 parts)
A Better World (2 parts)
The Terror Beyond (2 parts)
Eclipsed (2 parts)
Secret Society (2 parts)
Hereafter (2 parts)
Comfort and Joy
Wild Card (2 parts)
Starcrossed (3 parts)"
As good as season 1 was, season 2 is just extraordinary
Christopher P. Cecena | Pine Valley, CA USA | 04/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Season 1 of Justice League helped kicked things off. However, it's the 2nd season where things really shine. Season 2 went on and improved the show's animation, added on excellent subplots that carry on such as a growing relationship between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl, and increased eye-candy such as numerous guest appearances from characters from both the Superman and Batman toons, from supporting characters like Lois Lane, Ma and Pa Kent, and Alfred Pennyworth to classic villains like Lex Luthor, Brainiac, The Parasite, The Joker, and Clayface. New villains arrive as well, such as Eclipso, Dr. Destiny, Desparo, and even Doomsday, the monster that became infamous for killing Superman in the comics.
The quality of the stories increased as well. It starts off with Twilight, as the Justice League faces Darkseid and Brainiac(Ron Perlman and Corey Burton reprising their roles from the Superman cartoon).
In the center we have highlights such as Hereafter, in which the Justice League deals with the possibility that Superman is dead. Superman, however, is trapped in an apocolyptic future, with a former enemy now his only friend, ally, and hope of getting home.
A Better World is a 2-parter that helped set up the main storyline of the 4th season. It features the Justice League battling evil, alternate dimension versions of themselves, led by a ruthless dictator version of Superman you will love to hate. However the true highlight of the episode is an intense psychological faceoff between the two Batmen.
Wild Cards features the League facing off against the Joker in Vegas in a hilarious reality TV show homage, as they try to disarm bombs he's planted while also fighting off his henchmen, the Wild Flush Gang, who in a clever touch happen to be voiced by the main cast of Teen Titans. It ends with hands down the best Batman/Joker battle ever, even putting ones seen in the comics to shame.
It all ends with the 3-part smash bang finale, Starcrossed, which end with an alien invasion(only fitting since that's what got them together) and a shattering betrayal between one of the League's members.
Since the debut of Batman: The Animated Series in 1992, the WB's series of superhero shows that have since been known as the DCAU have continued to prove that animation can be intelligent, thought-provoking, and enjoyable for kids AND adults. Justice League season 2(which is released on the same day is Superman vol. 3!) is no different. A definite must buy."
Yes! This is how superhero stories are TOLD!
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 08/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Justice League Season 2 magnificently realizes its potential and soars to the top of the animated world, elevated by explosive, plot-driven stories of top-notch quality. All the episodes are pulse-pounding, well formulated, and lives up to the mythological grandeur implicit in these seven iconic heroes. The stories are so superbly written. The show's writers gleefully mine the rich decades-old history of DC comics to produce diverting episodes varying in tone from light-hearted romp to apocalyptically cosmic.
The writers obviously took the viewers' few complaints about Season 1 to heart. Gone, for example, is the prior season's sissy Superman who had a tendency to have his butt handed to him over and over. Instead, we have the Man of Steel in all his unparalleled might, and in "Twilight," he even cuts loose a bit. There's also more screen time for Wonder Woman's innocent crush on the Dark Knight. While Batman, though ever focused on his war on crime, finds himself not insusceptible to Diana's charms. Meanwhile, little is left to doubt about the romantic interest between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl. In a series full of top flight episodes, "Only A Dream," "Secret Society," and "Wild Card" stand out, while the seminal "A Better World" and "Starcrossed" prove to have long-standing repercussions.
The show also did away with the stifling full-screen treatment. The new wide-screen format greatly contributes to a more stunning and epic presentation. With the regular cast of voice actors going as strong as ever (with the indispensable Kevin Conroy, as usual, mezmerizing as Bats), and all-star guest voices Michael Ironside (Darkseid), Clancy Brown (Luthor), Dana Delaney (Lois Lane), Brad Garrett (Lobo), Ian Buchanan (the UltraHumanite), and voice chamelion Mark Hamill (Solomon Grundy, Joker) ably hitting their mark, Justice League Season 2 is decidedly superior animation making.
The special features contain commentaries by Bruce Timm & company on 3 episodes: "Twilight" Part 2, "A Better World" Part 2, and "Starcrossed" Part 3. There's also "Justice League Declassified" - where Phil Lamarr (voice of GL) hosts a behind the scenes feature with the show's creative team. Here's a disc by disc breakdown of the season's 26 episodes:
"Twilight" (episodes 1 & 2) - Season 2 starts with a bang as Darkseid calls upon the Justice League to aid him against Brainiac's incursion on Apokolips. Superman (still stewing over past run-ins with Darkseid), Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter take a boomtube to Apokolips to take the battle to Brainiac, while Batman and Wonder Woman head out to New Genesis. Episode 2 showcases a no-holds-barred throw down between a furious Man of Steel and Darkseid, while episode one has Batman chastising Superman: "We know he used you...humiliated you, brainwashed you, wound you up like a tin soldier and turned you loose against Earth - cry me a river!"
"Tabula Rasa" (episodes 3 & 4) - A desperately wounded Lex Luthor finds a new, all-powerful ally in an innocent automaton who has the capability to mimic superpowers. Meanwhile, J'onn J'onzz suffers thru a period of crisis as he questions the worth of defending Earth's citizens.
"Only A Dream" (episodes 5 & 6) - Very atmospheric episode as mind-bender Dr. Destiny first puts his ex-wife out of commission then tries to take out the Justice League, trapping all but one in their own worse nightmares. This episode alone is worth viewing to see Batman patronize a Starbucks-like coffee shop in a desperate attempt to stay awake.
"Maid of Honor" (episodes 7 & 8) - Diana babysits the carefree Princess of Casmia, who is engaged to Vandal Savage, who, as usual, is up to his ancient shenanigans. Meanwhile, Batman investigates suspicious incidents involving Casmian military special forces. In this one, Wonder Woman goes clubbing!
"Hearts and Minds" (episodes 9 & 10) - It's GL to the fore as the beleaguered Green Lantern Corps ask his and the League's assistance in battling the tyrant Despero and his Legion of the Third Eye. There's also a subplot involving Hawkgirl, Stewart, and Katma Tui (Stewart's mentor and, er, more). Also nice to see one of my favorite poozers, Kilowog.
"A Better World" (episodes 11 & 12) - Classic, seminal episode which directly ties into the main story arc of Justice League Unlimited Season 2. The League chances upon an alternate world whose version of the Justice League (called the Justice Lords) has taken a darker, more authoritarian persona.
"Eclipsed" (episodes 13 & 14) - As Flash predictably puts his foot in his mouth and sends the League's public image careening downwards, an inimical presence with the ability to invade people's bodies is released from imprisonment. When the JL members are taken over one by one, it's up to the sole remaining JLer Flash to save the day. This episode unveils for the first and only time: the Flash-Mobile.
"The Terror Beyond" (episodes 15 & 16) - Dr. Fate, Inza, Aquaman, and Solomon Grundy team up with Superman, Wonder Woman, and Hawkgirl to fend off the long-banished mystical Old Ones.
"Secret Society" (episodes 17 & 18) - As internal strife consumes the League and ultimately causes the group's disbanding, Gorilla Grodd takes full advantage and assembles the third incarnation of the Injustice Gang, with new members Sinestro, Parasite, Killer Frost, Giganta, Shade, & Clayface.
"Hereafter" (episodes 19 & 20) - Superman falls in battle against a plethora of his personal foes and is believed to be dead. As the League and the world mourns, a powerless Superman, in reality, is alive and trapped under a red sun in the far-flung future, with no way of getting back until he finds help in the person of an unlikely, old-time foe. Meanwhile, The Main Man, Lobo, joins the League.
"Comfort and Joy" (episode 21) - A feel-good Yuletide episode as the League gets some down time. The Flash runs all over the city in search of a DJ Rubber Ducky toy for an orphanage, Clark takes J'onn J'onzz home to Smallville for Christmas, and GL and Hawkgirl bond.
"Wild Card" (episodes 22 & 23) - In a funny take on reality TV shows, the action takes place in Las Vegas, where Joker and the Royal Flush Gang have planted various explosives set on timers, forcing the League to desperately scurry around on a bomb-disarming mission.
"Starcrossed" (episodes 24, 25, & 26) - These are epic, emotionally-charged episodes as betrayal strikes the team from within and secret identities are revealed. Thanagarians come to Earth to ostensibly warn the League of an imminent alien invasion by the Gordanians. The Thanagarians offer their aid, but do they have an ulterior motive? This is the defining storyline that opened up the Justice League roster to other superheroes in the next season.
One of the best DC Animated cartoons ever.
Matt Zimmer | Mass. | 06/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Justice League is a great cartoon featuring the team-up of seven iconic DC Comics Superheroes: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and the Martian Manhunter as they team up to save to world from intergalactic threats and supervillians. It it a continuation of Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond and furthers plots developed on those shows.
This second season set of Justice League features some of the best episodes of the series. I have heard elsewhere about how much the series improved in it's voice performances and fight scenes but it also has really witty dialogue which is a first for the DC Animated Universe.
This set contains 26 episodes most of which are two or three parters AND most of which are really good or better. If you are a fan of Batman: The Animated Series, you'll really dig this show.
The special features are standard but informative (there is a deleted scene Easter Egg on disc three) and the commentaries are probably about as entertaining as any I've ever heard. The menus are kind of static and bland though. There are also no chapter stops during the episodes so that is something else to be aware of.
Disc One contains:
"Twilight"--the first rematch of Superman and Darkseid since the old Superman cartoon's bittersweet Finale "Legacy". A lot of people love the fight scenes here which are bone-crunching but I personally have a soft spot for both Batman and Darkseid's snarky one-liners.
"Tabula Rasa"-- The episode is only decent (the Martian Manhunter stuff is boring) but it sets up some neat stuff with Lex Luthor in the Cadmus arc on Justice League Unlimited.
"Only a Dream"-- Dr. Destiny as a villian is kind of lame but the episode has some really scary animation. Also great is Batman trying to stay awake in some very funny scenes.
"Maid of Honor"-- This was the Justice League episode that got me hooked on the series. It features the return of a James Bondish villian and lines witty enough to belong in a screwball comedy.
"Hearts and Minds"-- One of the few duds on the set it never-the-less features great music and a magnificent performance by Keith David (Gargoyles' Goliath) as the villian.
"A Better World"-- A really disturbing episode not only because a lot of things that happen in the alternate universe of the Justice Lords happen in JLU but because the alternate Gotham and Arkham Asylum are so clean and ordered it's jarring. Great episode.
"The Terror Beyond"-- Really moving ending that explores issues of faith which is kind of rare on a kids show. The first three quarters of the episode is just one long pointless fight scene however. Stiil you get to see Superman clobber Aquaman.
"Eclipsed"-- Mediocre episode more memorable for the Flash gags than the actual story.
"Secret Society"-- MUCH better villian team-up than season one's Injustice For All (Gorilla Grodd is great) with a geeky Superfriends homage at the end.
"Hereafter"-- Probably the best episode of the series and the ONLY movie/comic/book/cartoon/show I've seen that begins with the fake death of a major character where the resolution is NOT a total cop-out. Also the most delighfully bizarre and unpredictable twists and turns of the series.
"Comfort and Joy"-- Holiday fluff.
"Wild Cards"-- Final appearance of the Joker and Harley Quinn (grumble grumble, Bat Embargo) is a mixture between a reality show and "24". REALLY hard to describe but a really fun episode. The end is a beautiful pay-off for fans of Hawkgirl and Green Lantern.
"Starcrossed"-- Watershed episode that turned everything we thought we knew about the series upside down. I won't go much deeper than that so as not to spoil the plot twists but one of the finest cartoons the DC Animated Universe has ever produced.
About the non-animorphic wide-screen: If you don't have a wide-screen TV (I don't) it's a non-issue. If you do, whether or not to buy it is your call but if you have an older TV set, not buying it as some sort of "fan solidarity" is stupid. If you are a fan of this show and would like to see future DC Animated Universe projects or DVD sets not buying it will insure they will never happen. I feel bad about folks with widescreen sets, I do, but if you don't HAVE one you really should buy this set if you're a fan of the show or just a fan of great cartoons in general."