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In this action-packed adventure series, the world’s greatest superheroes, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter, join forces as the Justice League to battle powerful villains, supernatural creatures and evil entities determined to take over the world and destroy the League.
Justice League ran for two seasons, from November 2001 to May 2004. Almost without exception, each episode comprised a part of a two- or three-episode story arc. This format allowed for some robust storytelling, obviating the kinds of hard-to-swallow narrative shortcuts endemic to this particular genre. Drawing stories out over multiple episodes also affords character development – such as it is – that is so often abandoned in favor of action.
The series begins with “Secret Origins” as the team comes together for the first time to repel alien invaders. The line-up is Superman, Batman, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Hawkgirl. Most of the other characters know each other, but they meet Wonder Woman for the first time, whose origin is altered from the comics. As the series progresses, a romantic relationship between her and Batman develops. Rather than the more popular Hal Jordan, John Stewart is the Green Lantern.
Season One starts off with the three-part “Secret Origins,” which sets up the background of the Justice League for the purposes of this particular series. Brought together by an invasion of Earth by Martian colonists – which has special significance for J’onn J’onzz, the last of the Martian race – the seven heroes join forces and defeat the invaders. They vow to remain bound by the common purpose of the Earth’s defense against harm.
Subsequent episodes tend to focus on some subset of the “big seven;” rarely are they all featured at the same time, save for the more ambitious arcs that deal with some galactic or interdimensional threat that requires all the resources the Justice League can bring to bear.
Other memorable first season arcs include the two-part “Legends,” in which the League is transported to an alternate reality where humanity’s safety is guaranteed by the so-called Justice Guild of America – a sort of Bizarro version of our heroes. “The Savage Time,” the three-part conclusion of the first season, finds the whole League traveling through time to aide the Allies in fighting a “what if?” version of World War II. “The Savage Time” features the best action, design, and animation of the entire season. It’s a Golden Age-flavored masterpiece.
There are many special features spread out across the discs to keep the fans entertained, revealing the inner workings of the series. There are commentary tracks on seven episodes and features on storyboards, plots, character design, voice work, music, and favorite moments. There’s an excerpt from Bryan Singer and Kevin Burns’ Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman and an all-new feature created for this set “Unlimited Reserve: Exploring the Depths of the DC Universe” where the creators reflect on the stories and casting.
Presented in a tin sleeve that showcases the main seven heroes, Justice League – The Complete Series will keep comic fans entertained for hours. It’s a smart show that understands and respects both the material and its audience.