Sunday, January 01, 2012

2. DVD Overview: Justice League Unlimited Season Two

After what I think of as the perfect culmination of Batman, Superman and Justice League cartoons in the first season of Justice League Unlimited Season One, I remember being somewhat disappointed in season two. Having now re-watched it, I maintain my opinion that it's considerably weaker than the first season, but I've realized it's still pretty great.

I think one of the big things that hurt season two was the half episode order. Thirteen episodes feels really tight given the amount of story they're trying to pack in here, and it becomes especially notable at the end. The Hawkgirl-Hawkman-Vixen-Green Lantern love quadrangle never quite gets a full resolution, the Martian Manhunter goes down among humanity starts abruptly and doesn't quite have enough time to make his return at the end have quite as much resonance as it could, Grodd's secret society is a great idea but feels like it's over before it really gets started, etc.

However... all of these stories are great ideas, and despite being compressed, they're still really good. In particular, I loved seeing the future Green Lantern/Hawkgirl offspring being addressed. And the plot structure at the outset, where Grodd is going after various artifacts from DC's history, allowing the writers to use the Viking Prince, Deadman and the Warlord, is terrific. In addition, the writers continue to expand across the DCU, so we get a Legion episode, an episode that feels like a lost Flash TV show and a follow-up to Cadmus with Wade Eiling adopting the General identity he took on in Morrison's JLA.

They also made time for some fun one-offs, notably Flash and Lex Luthor getting their minds swapped, and some follow-up from season one with Roulette and her new Metabrawl.

The show did not lack ambition, nor expertise, it just lacked in time to really explore all of the ideas in full.

Still... Darkseid invading Earth, and Lex and Superman teaming up, alongside their respective teams, to defend it? That's a hell of a final episode.

The DVDs have two notable extras, one where the writers, producers and directors discuss their favorite episodes and another where Mark Hamill and series creative personnel discuss the Cadmus arc, although I haven't actually watched either one quite yet.

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