Suggested by Destroyer Judgeman can throw the book at his opponents but it doesn’t mean that he will ultimately stand much of a chance against someone like Darkseid. Darkseid has more power and speed at his disposal than Judgeman could ever hope to deal with. Darkseid’s eye blasts will burn through all of Judgeman’s defenses and he won’t be getting his by any counters thanks to his overwhelming speed advantage. This puts Judgeman at a bad spot and he really would need more speed feats to even hope to take down Darkseid. Darkseid wins.
Suggested by Destroyer Judgeman can throw the book at his opponents but it doesn’t mean that he will ultimately stand much of a chance against someone like Darkseid. Darkseid has more power and speed at his disposal than Judgeman could ever hope to deal with. Darkseid’s eye blasts will burn through all of Judgeman’s defenses and he won’t be getting his by any counters thanks to his overwhelming speed advantage. This puts Judgeman at a bad spot and he really would need more speed feats to even hope to take down Darkseid. Darkseid wins.
Suggested by Anonymous Zoom is probably the strongest comic book villain that nobody talks about. He’s basically at Flash levels of speed and sometimes even faster. That already makes him supremely dangerous and I dare say that he may be in the top 10 DC villains not counting extremely unknown ones. If we count literally all of them then maybe top 30 to be safe. However, Darkseid is in the Top 10 no matter how you slice it and he would be able to beat Zoom. It would play out much like a Flash vs Superman battle. Darkseid would eventually tag Zoom as he also has a good amount of speed and a single hit would almost definitely secure him the win. Darkseid wins.
Suggested by IKnowledge Yuna is a pretty skilled summoner and she has proven herself throughout the various FF X games. She may not have Cloud’s close range abilities but she can still do a lot of damage. Unfortunately for her, Darkseid is a lot faster than any of her monsters. He is also incredibly powerful so her armors wont really help against his attacks. A summoner is only as tough as her strongest monster and it just isn’t enough against Darkseid. Darkseid wins.
This show always brings a lot of memories. Not only have I seen this show numerous times, but it is easily my favorite American show of all time and top 5 overall. It is the perfect adaption of a superhero team and I doubt we will ever see another such title top this one. Justice League ran for a very long time and got to fit in dozens of excellent episodes. They hold up well and you will be hard pressed to find a bad episode here. Even the worst episodes are still fairly good when placed in another title. Let us get started because this is an incredibly long review. Maybe it should be called a look back to be more accurate?
The show is divided into two parts. There is Justice League and then there is Unlimited. I count them as the same show but you could make the case for it being two separate titles. Part 1 is a lot more episodic, but each adventure was double length which made it easy to tell just about any story. Unlimited’s episodes were normal length, but they made up for it with long story arcs. Both had very different styles and worked well in their own way. I’ll talk more about Unlimited in a bit, but lets focus on part 1 first.
The show started off with ambitious three part event which showed how the league formed to fend off an alien invasion. Part of what made the DCAU so awesome was the continuity and Justice League builds off of what was already established. As a result Batman and Superman already know each other. The first aliens still manage to escape, but only because Superman was being telepathically attacked at the time. What starts off as a Batman and Superman story quickly transforms into a Justice League adventure. While I would have loved to have seen the team fight each other as per the trope, logically it makes sense that these veterans wouldn’t randomly start attacking each other when there are aliens to deal with. Priorities right? Superman may have been heavily nerfed so he wouldn’t steal the show, but beyond that I really had no problems with this start to the series. You could feel the tension and the danger from the alien invasion and the animation holds up extremely well. I dare say that it is the best looking episode in the series, particularly the first part of the 3 part adventure, but naturally there is a lot of competition there. You may see me nominating a few other episodes for that honor in this review.
I won’t go through all of the Justice League episodes of course, but the series had a lot of great episodes and I want to give a good chunk of them an honorary mention. After the explosive alien invasion story set the stage, the League got to fight many foes as a team. One solid episode was when the Manhunters arrived to arrest Green Lantern. I like this two part episode because of the great action scenes and story, but part 1 stands out particularly for the opening scene. The Watchtower is able to detect the arrival of these drones so the League quickly heads in to intercept them. Unfortunately, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman aren’t available so the rest of the team has to make do. Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, and Flash put up a decent fight and get some hits in, but they are clearly outmatched. That is when Superman comes in, for one of the most satisfying moments in the series. This episode may have less importance in the grand scheme of things than other episodes, but it is still a personal favorite moment of mine. Superman has a tendency to lose to things that he shouldn’t in these episodes and is under powered at times to make the others look good, but not here. He is taking all 3 of the Manhunters down and calmly walks through one of their large energy blasts. It was definitely a lot of fun to watch and I am confident that The Justice League would have won that fight if it hadn’t been interrupted. The other members were getting their second wind as well. The music selection was also really good for this moment. The only weak part of the episode is Green Lantern taking his judgment so passively. I understand that he was feeling guilty, but he definitely should have looked into the situation more. Especially considering that you cannot atone for your mistakes if you are dead. I just disagreed with Green Lantern’s whole rationale here, but he got the job done once his innocence was proven and took the Manhunter leader down.
Another all star episode, and one of the greatest episodes in any show period, is the Amazo saga. Amazo is a being who can copy powers and abilities. They can be physical equipment, mystical abilities, or even biological ones. Amazo doesn’t seem to have any limits and he can mix and match different powers during combat. The only downside is that he gets the weaknesses as well but since most of the heroes have no weaknesses, it is definitely a worthy cost for such power. This is one of the rare episodes where you get to see the entire cast fight at once and Amazo makes for a very good villain. Superman provides us with the highlight moment once again as he actually appears to have the upper hand during hos fight with Amazo even though the latter should technically be more powerful at the moment. It just goes to show that Superman’s battle experience and tactics should not be underestimated. Batman meant well, but he probably should not have interfered this time or maybe he could have waited a little longer to make his move. He can’t take much of the blame though because the other League members should have been ready to nab Amazo once he was weakened. I think the League could have used more teamwork to take Amazo and Luthor down, but overall it was still a great effort and an epic saga.
Amazo would later return for another great episode in Unlimited. Unfortunately, this one was only a single part so it didn’t have quite as much time for the adventure. The episode did its best to cram in as much action and intensity as it could despite this limitation. Amazo has now become a super being with unlimited power and he wants to destroy Lex Luthor. The expanded Justice League assembles all of its forces to fight him, but their combined might doesn’t really have much of an effect. I definitely think that Amazo’s power was a little exaggerated here. He was portrayed as being completely and utterly invincible, which is a bit of a stretch. Sure, they did injure Amazo once or twice, but thanks to the fact that he can heal and can move whole planets with his mind, it isn’t much of a consolation in the end. It definitely would have been nice to have seen a proper fight between Superman and Amazo here. Amazo typically just beat everyone with a single energy burst which makes sense because there was only one episode to cover such a big plot, but it still would have been really cool to see this gold Amazo fight.
Another rock solid episode is the return of Mongul over in JL Unlimited. That episode is easily one of the all time best and it certainly has one of the best music selections out of all the episodes. The constant rock music really amps the episode up to the next level and the fight between Superman and Mongul is intense. Wonder Woman’s fight with Mongul is also pretty great even if it is very one sided. I could care less about the future fantasies everyone was having. They were all right, but at that point I just wanted to see more of the fight. It’s true that this episode makes no sense in continuity since Mongul was fairly weak in the original series, but it is an adaption first and foremost. Making Mongul this strong is a good move since he is always a big threat in the comics. Also, having an episode with just the main 3 League members was certainly a treat. The banter and intensity can’t be matched by the side member.
Next on our list of really good episodes is the debut of Shazam. It starts off with a fun mini fight as Shazam beats Superman to the rescue. The latter begins to feel jealous the whole time and makes things hard for Shazam. This escalates when Superman finds out that Lex has planted a bomb under the new city that he built. Lex even invited a lot of kids to this to make it even more stressful for Superman, but Lex denies this. Shazam chooses to believe Lex and that begins the big fight between Superman and Shazam. It’s definitely one of the better fights in the series as they both possess powers that are a blast to watch in combat. Superman is always my pick to win despite Shazam’s strength being magic based. Superman is simply more powerful. Still, Shazam does land a lot of good shots in and there is even a nice homage to the famous punch between Superman and Doomsday. Naturally, Superman wins this exchange. Superman was a bit extreme with how rude he was to Shazam in this episode though. That is probably the only negative that I would have with this episode. I do think Shazam should have shown up another time as the series went on. He may not be a member, but he is still a hero so I’d expect to see him during the alien invasions.
One fun episode involved Flash Appreciation Day as the Speedster got a whole museum in his honor. It is nice to see a hero being appreciated since a great number of them are treated like crooks and vigilantes. This episode may not have been incredibly action packed or plot heavy, but it was a fun episode that was handled well. The pacing was very quick and the writing was solid. Batman should definitely have put up a better fight against the Rogues, but I guess I can always just try to say that he would have won if he didn’t have to save the Flash. Flash also got another good episode a few seasons earlier when the Justice League went up against Eclipso. The JL was quickly taken out of action as they got mind controlled by an alien rock. Batman wasn’t around of course since that may have made things too difficult for the Flash. Be that as it may, Flash did a stunning job of taking on the League long enough for him to find a cure. The episode had some fun commercials and most shows don’t really deal with the PR angle enough. It is definitely something that the League has to deal with in order to keep their great reputation. Flash may have been outsmarted by the media in this episode, but he was still wise enough not to volunteer for the final commercial.
Green Lantern had a solid story where he went to an alien planet to rescue his mentor. Her squad had been attacked by a group of priests with white energy blasts which could actually break through the energy constructs that Green Lanterns could make. The opening fight scene is definitely very epic and starts the episode off on a solid note. The rest of the episode isn’t quite as interesting since Green Lantern has to relearn how to use his powers and the villains suddenly get a lot weaker. They had to nerf them since the strong members like Superman and Wonder Woman weren’t around, but it would have been the perfect time to just have a bunch of Green Lanterns show up. Still a good episode in the end, but one that had a pretty weak conclusion. Despero is a real fighter in the comics, it would have been cool to have seen that here.
Justice League had its fair share of aliens attacking the planet and one of the deadliest threats was the arrival of the Dark Heart. It was a self replicating machine that can eat anything and use the material to duplicate itself. This even worked on all kinds of energy so projectiles and physical blows would only make it stronger. This was the first time we got to basically see the entire Justice League Unlimited get in on the action. Towards the end even the stronger members like Wonder Woman were starting to weaken. It’s safe to say that Superman and Supergirl are the only ones who would probably be totally safe thanks to their durability. The Dark Heart was definitely impressive and its mechanical monsters made for good minions. This episode is definitely a classic and it even got to squeeze in the government acting shady at the end.
Aresia’s debut made for another fun story. Unfortunately she never got to appear again. She made for a fun good villain so that was too bad. She wanted to rid the world of men and gathered up a group of villains so she could accomplish this task. Defeating Superman is probably her best feat. It was cool to see a Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl team up. Unfortunately, Wonder Woman was nerfed as a result and I’d say that her mom was as well. Surely she should be able to fight off a human with a sword right? She is supposed to have super strength and must have been an incredible warrior to have become the queen. I’m not sure where it all went wrong for her. The episode also started out very strongly with Batman showing up to deal with Aresia’s group. He was super close to winning even though he was heavily outgunned. His fans would definitely be pleased.
While it didn’t have much of a plot, we can’t forget the Christmas special. It was a fun little episode where we got to see the team just hang out and enjoy a peaceful day for once. Flash definitely got the best plot as he had to try and find the perfect present for the kids. Ultra Humanite was even a decently likable villain here. This was the only Justice League episode that wasn’t a one hour special so it felt like a nice little bonus to the rest of the show. It’s always good to see a Christmas special and naturally one with Superheroes would be a lot of fun.
Back to the intense action episodes. Metamorpho was a really fun episode and that’s mainly because it was another episode where the whole team could fight. Having a 1 vs 7 (Usually more like 1 vs 5 since one or two members will be missing) fight is just a lot of fun. Granted, there is definitely some plot hax to be found here since Superman should be enough to deal with Metamorpho. Sure, Kryptonite gas is scary, but Superman should be able to keep on fighting a little better. It was especially sad for Green Lantern during that match. Metamorpho may have been a little overpowered, but it just continued to show why he is such a good opponent to have. As a character he wasn’t great though as he was fairly gullible, but more on that later. Even the giant monster fight was actually cool because it had a real cool theme as Superman flew towards it. He got wrecked of course, but I liked Superman’s confidence. No matter how many times he loses, Superman tackles the villain without hesitation.
An interesting episode was Task force X. It involves a lot of plot hax and instances where you will wonder how this can possibly be aiming to be realistic, but I suppose the episode did its best considering that having a team of humans infiltrate the Justice League would never really work. Superman and Batman weren’t around so that does add a little credibility. Throwing either one of those two into the mix would have not been wise. The Task Force definitely weren’t all that likable, but they were all right as the antagonists. I am glad that the government got to throw their weight around for once and this is probably the best depiction of the Suicide Squad in all of animation.
Wild Card was an interesting way to end Justice League. It didn’t have the same weight that an average finale would have, but it was a great episode regardless. We got to see the Joker show up and as he rarely gets to face off against the whole League, it was pretty interesting. His Royal Flush gang probably looked a little tougher than they should have as the League should destroy them in a fight, but the League did take the win in the end so that’s what counts. It was also one of the only times where we got to see a reality warper get in on the action so that was definitely interesting as well. She is a little overpowered and Superman should be able to resist this, but she was a good villain. The romance in the episode wasn’t handled all that well, but it very rarely is. It’s the only weak point of the episode and the adventure is pretty epic otherwise.
A fun episode which didn’t have a lot of stakes or importance in the plot was the Legion of Superheroes episode. Every series has an episode or two that has nothing to do with anything, but still ends up providing us with an great epic. After all, a solid self contained story can still have a lot of depth and excitement. Seeing the Fatal Five take on members of the Justice League is not something that you would expect. There was a lot of action here and the episode was great from start to finish. While it is one of the stronger episodes, I did have some power level complaints here. Is the show really trying to say that the Emerald Eye is stronger than the Power Ring? I definitely have a tough time buying that. While fewer people will agree with this, I do think that Supergirl could probably take out the whole Legion of Superheroes on her own. Mon-El and Ultra Boy would prove to be the toughest opponents, but I am confident that she would prevail. It would have been cool to have seen Superman break into the future and help out, but I suppose it would all be too easy if he did that all the time.
The Vandal Savage three part event was one of my least favorite episodes when I first saw it. It was a big deal because my cousin came over to watch this live with me and the rest of the family, but I wasn’t impressed. It was a swarm of plot hax all converging on the same spot. Random robots were handling the League and they had a tough time back in World War 2. The episode had aged decently and I like it more than I did the first time, but the concept is still better than the execution. Vandal Savage also just isn’t a very good villain. He is immortal, but beyond that I have a tough time seeing him as an actual threat.
He would end up returning in the Death of Superman episode where he apparently destroyed the Justice League. I don’t buy that. Even if he is immortal, there are many ways to beat Savage. The team may be a lot weaker without Superman, but they are still tough. I think the show was low balling them this time. Still, it was fun seeing a destructive future where WWIII occurred. It’s too bad that Superman’s powers were on the fritz though. I suppose it would have all been too easy otherwise. The present subplot with Lobo was definitely fun though. It had been a while since we got to see him in animation. Batman arriving on the scene without prep time against the villains was a little cheesy, but if there is any character who can save Batman fair and square, it is Superman.
A good one shot episode was the one with the underground arena where Huntress investigates why Black Canary has grown weaker. It turns out that JL members have been kidnapped and forced to fight in brutal battles. Ignoring how bad this makes the League look for not noticing this, it makes for a fun episode. Who doesn’t want to see a lot of good hand to hand fights? I am also glad that Wonder Woman was completely defeating the other members. Let’s face it, numbers alone isn’t enough to overwhelm this amazon. The soundtrack was really good in this episode and matched up well with the quick fight scenes. It was definitely a lot more fun than the first underground episode with Wildcat. That one needed more cool fight scenes like this one.
The Felix Faust saga is one that I have seen many times. It is a fun two part event because we get some fights that you wouldn’t typically expect to see. Hades vs Superman? That is definitely a winner right there. We also got a brief fight between Superman and Wonder Woman. Naturally, I do have to point out that there was a lot of plot hax here. I don’t care how magic based Hades is, he can’t take down someone as strong as Superman. He even beat the Flash. I don’t remember how GL lost, but I am pretty sure that he was in the fight. As always, it was great seeing just about the whole League getting in on the fight. If you ignore the power levels, then you can just enjoy the great visuals and hype. Imagine that Hades is a whole new character or something who was made to be Darkseid level. This saga also got a sequel where Felix Faust returned to get his revenge on Hades. One of the reasons I liked that episode is because the first time the Destroyer armor appeared, it could not be stopped. This time, the heroes got to actually destroy it, which is a lot more satisfying. WW and Hawkgirl were the only JL members on deck this time, but they were enough.
Now we are getting near the end so let’s look at some of the best episodes in the series. A really solid two part episode was the battle between Darkseid and Brainiac. The former asks the Justice League for help, but as you would imagine, it’s a trap. Superman did see it coming though so I’ll give him props for that. The only part that brings this episode down a little is the subplot with the New Gods. They’re all very unlikable characters who are overhyped to oblivion and are ultimately pointless. Still, the main plot is good enough to overshadow this as Superman finally gets a big rematch with Darkseid. Darkseid is one of those guys who really gets on Superman’s nerves and you can tell as Superman is a whole lot more aggressive in this episode than he usually is. He was really raring to go.
Time for what is still the best two part episode in the series, the Justice Lords! It features another universe where Superman crosses the line and takes a life. This causes the League to become crueler as they go about getting Justice through any means necessary. They don’t start murdering everyone or rule the world out of the blue, but they begin to take away freedom of speech. It is handled very realistically. If Superman did ever lose sight of the heroic path, this would be a reasonable direction to go in. He believes that he is doing it for the greater good even if the civilians may not like it. Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman would likely get on board right away because they are used to a system like this. Flash wouldn’t go for it, but that wasn’t really an issue since he was dead. Martian Manhunter would roll with it, but it is hard to see Batman rolling with this. The show did do a good job of making it feasible though. The Justice Lords aren’t going around murdering people or anything like that. They’re just acting as dictators now for the greater good. It’s not the right approach, but at least you can understand their reasoning.
We even get to see how they fight as a team when the Justice Lords take on Doomsday. It would have been cool to have seen Doomsday take on the League, but this was a fight that nobody saw coming and was just as satisfying. It really helped start the saga off on a good note. Naturally, things got even better as both teams fought each other. The only missed opportunity was not having both Supermen fight each other. That would have been a blast. Crisis on Two Earth’s, the movie also skipped this fight so I’m not sure what the deal is here. Still, seeing Flash take on Superman was cool as well. The Justice Lords never got to really return (Androids don’t count) but they had a nice impact. It just goes to show how one moment can completely change an entire planet. You always have to stay vigilant.
Continuing the Doomsday plot was an episode in Unlimited. I didn’t really buy the recon origin for Doomsday, but I’ll take it I guess. It felt unnecessary but seeing him get to fight the real Superman was definitely a blast. Superman definitely should have put up a better fight, but we can attribute that to the fact that he was fighting while inside a volcano and couldn’t go all out. Doomsday is a tough villain as well so the fight shouldn’t be one sided anyway. The Batman subplot was also engaging as he does what he always can beyond the shadows. While Superman was dealing with the obvious threat, Batman still saved just as many lives on his own. It was a solid episode and certainly one that holds up well as part of a bigger saga, but also as a stand alone. It also had a great soundtrack and if you’ve noticed, that typically happens. Great episodes have great themes to accompany them.
The Deadman episode was definitely a lot of fun. It took place during the Legion of Doom arc. He is a ghost because of a mistake Deadman made a long time ago and he needs to balance the scales to move on. The problem is that he never gets any closer to this goal. His temple is attacked one day and so he is forced to ask the Justice League for help. There is no time for backup so it is just the main 3. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. That’s part of why the episode is a blast since it is the three of them against the whole villain army. Needless to say, they clean shop. The villain group is actually pretty powerful since they have heavy hitters like Bizarro, but that just speaks to how strong the Justice League is. The episode is basically one large action scene and does a good job of ending Gorilla Grodd’s plot. It also reminds you of the difference between heroes and vigilantes. Deadman makes a call but it isn’t the right one. I don’t think he should be able to control Superman, but it’s not that big a deal. The music is great as expected and the episode has the thematic atmosphere that always elevates the episode to the next level.
Another personal favorite of mine is the epic Back to the future two part event which sees the return of Batman Beyond and a lot of other characters from that series. It is like the crossover that we had been waiting for. The first episode takes place in the past so it isn’t nearly as good. The guest stars aren’t very interesting and the villains are weak. The second episode is just so awesome that it makes up for this. Seriously, having the really cool futuristic music of Batman Beyond back once again is definitely very cool and even seeing the villains again was nostalgic. It does remind you that maturity isn’t always a good thing though. The old Terry would have jumped into the fray with Wonder Woman and the other JL members right from the start while this one decides to retreat. First of all, there is no way that the JL should be losing to these Batman Beyond villains. Superman isn’t there, but Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Batman can take these guys on. The fights definitely had a Lot of plot hax to try and make the villains look tough. I didn’t buy it for a minute, but it did make for some good fight scenes. Also, the Hal Jordan cameo was definitely really cool. Little tributes like that are always fun to see. It was definitely an epic way to end the season.
It’s time for another really epic finale, the return of Brainiac. It wrapped up the excellent Cadmus arc on a really high note. I also would have loved seeing the new Amazo body, but this is just as good. Brainiac’s fused form has a great DBZish design and he is certainly one of the toughest foes that the League has dealt with. I also really enjoyed the brief Justice Lords cameo. The music was really good and they made excellent use of the mindgames. I do like that the Flash was immune as he shouldn’t have any doubts that can be used against him. That’s pretty much Flash’s whole deal. Batman and Wonder Woman also didn’t seem flustered. In the end, Flash pays a pivotal role in stopping the threat and I’ve always considered him to be one of the secret heavy hitters. When the writers aren’t having him trip on everything and get knocked out by nonsensical plot lines, Flash can hold his own with the best of them. The thing is, you can say the same for most of the JL members, which is what makes the team so special. Flash fans had definitely earned this after seeing their favorite character downplayed for so long.
We can’t forget Lex Luthor’s original criminal group from the first part of the show either. He made his own mini Legion of Doom involving Ultra Humanite, Shade, Star Sapphire, and a few other members. Team vs Team fights are always a lot of fun and while the Justice League should have the huge edge over this team, the villains use a lot of teamwork to make it close. Throwing in the Joker also added an extra dynamic. He held his own pretty well considering the fact that he doesn’t have any powers. It was just a fun two part event. There weren’t any world shattering stakes or big guest stars, but it was a solid action two part event which showed that Batman still considers himself to be a loner at heart. For the record, I don’t disagree with his call. He’s the most experienced member and breaking into a villain base on his own seems reasonable.
Another good episode involved yet another team battle. Dr. Fate had gathered his own team to stop a supernatural menace. The problem is that he intends to sacrifice Solomon Grundy in order to do it. Superman decides that this is inhumane and while Grundy has given his consent, it’s hard to say whether he really understands the stakes or not. So, the Justice League decide to do battle with Fate’s Defenders. This episode involved a heavy amount of plot hax to make Dr. Fate’s team stay in the game. There’s no possible way that Aquaman can beat Wonder Woman. The only incarnation of his that has any shot is the New 52 version and that still doesn’t work because it’s also Wonder Woman’s strongest depiction and she’s still ahead of him. I think Fate should have beaten Hawkgirl, but having a magic disrupting weapon does make things tricky. Superman’s fight with Aquaman is the best part of the episode. Yeah, this was definitely an awesome two parter and it’s one of the episodes that I’ve seen the least so it’s always cool to revisit it.
Finally, we’ve got the final two parter with the return of Darkseid. The first part is exclusively used for a big villain team against team battle as half of the Legion of Doom sides with Luthor and the other half go with Grodd. There’s a lot happening in the episode so you have to keep your eyes peeled if you want to catch all of the background fights. The main bout with Grodd and Luthor is also handled really well and was epic despite both characters not usually being combatants. It all goes back to how great the show is. The second part is mainly Darkseid’s fight with Superman and Batman while also showing all of the other heroes handling the minions. This definitely should have been a three parter to fit it all in as it is very rushed, but the fight is still satisfying. Whenever Superman and Darkseid are on screen, you know that cool things are about to happen. One slight issue I have is the fact that Superman loses in the end. He really deserved this win after all of these years.
That’s it for individual episodes, but I’d like to quickly give a shout out to the overall Cadmus arc. It was a superb addition to the show and is part of why Unlimited was so good. The first part of the show always stuck to self contained episodes while the Cadmus arc connected a whole season of Unlimited. Amanda Waller’s group were portrayed well. They were outgunned, but there is a lot that you can do with science. The verbal debates between her and Batman were always good to see and the arc always asked the tough questions. It has the honor of being one of the only pieces of media to properly portray a more complex/darker Superman. He was forced to look at the gray lines and betrayal from his friends. Superman never snapped and took a life though, but he would get visibly irritated and temperamental. It doesn’t always make him look good, but it does show how he is still only human. Bending the rules to save Question was a morally iffy move, but one that I felt was completely in the right and I was glad he made the call. Whether you can prove that Cadmus is evil or not, it doesn’t change the fact that they kidnapped and tortured one of the League members. I’d have been very disappointed if Superman had not broken in ASAP. There was definitely no time to call in the League and no real need anyway. Superman can handle whatever they throw at him. Galatea, The Ultra Men, the Captain Atom battle, Luthor’s Presidential Subplot, there were a lot of awesome plots within the arc. To really understand just how great it was, you’ve got to watch it. There’s a reason why many consider this to be the high point of the franchise, it was just very awesome to watch and you’d be at the edge of your seat the whole time. I think Cadmus got off a little too leniently, but the fact that they are currently disbanded is a start.
We may as well start off strong with Superman in the characters section. He is easily the best character in the series and it isn’t even close. His character is portrayed to perfection and beyond in this series. While Superman does take a beating throughout, you have to remember that he is constantly holding back so that he doesn’t injure someone. He only really goes all out a few times and even then he goes to great lengths to ensure that he does not destroy the villain that he is facing. Superman is the ultimate hero and the Unlimited Cadmus arc did a good job of also showing that he can get angry as well. Storming into the Cadmus facility and rescuing Captain Atom may not have been playing by the rules exactly, but it was certainly the right thing to do. Even if Atom was a total traitor there. It is certainly hard to forget that and it will hurt the character in his right up. Superman has always been meant to be the ultimate symbol of heroism and justice. He does a great job of upholding this role and is portrayed as an intelligent guy in addition to being the world’s strongest fighter.
Next up is Batman, another highlight of the show. The DCAU is really how I became a Batman fan. His character is definitely a lot tougher to get right than Superman’s. That is because Batman can be more of a vigilante at times and some authors like to make him cross too many lines or show off his Bruce Wayne alter ego a little too excessively. In Justice League, these problems are nowhere to be found. First of all, Batman is portrayed as being very heroic in Justice League. He even gets along with the cops a lot more than he usually would. His voice is very iconic and helped make his scenes even cooler. He ended up saving the League several times and he started this tradition in the very first multi part story. Batman is basically perfect here and he is right under Superman. It is no wonder that both of these characters are my top 2 comic book characters of all time.
Wonder Woman is next on the list and she is very good. You are going to quickly notice that a great number of characters are pretty likable in this show. With the writing so on point, it is to be expected. Wonder Woman is always eager for a fight and that is really why she is such a great character. Once again, I have to point out For The Man Who Has Everything as a great example of this. Wonder Woman is eager to fight Mongul right from the start and doesn’t give up even when she is completely outmatched. The two part time travel adventure in Unlimited is another good example of why she is so likable as Wonder Woman declares that Justice League members never retreat even when the other characters were losing their nerve. WW is a warrior so she is made of sterner stuff. While the gap in power between her and Superman is rather large in this show, she is still quite formidable.
The Green Lantern in this show is John Stewart as opposed to Hal Jordan. Hal is still my favorite GL, but John is handled well here. One thing that I typically don’t like about army characters is that they tend to follow the rules a little too closely, even if it means letting a teammate get a bad deal. It is why I typically like the rebels like Batman…or Hal Jordan. Luckily, the army angle isn’t played up too much. If anything, that is Green Arrow’s role this time. John is maybe a little too quick to doubt himself at times like his terrible appearance in the Manhunter two parter, but just about every character is entitled to having a bad day or two in a series that is this long. He has plenty of good scenes to counter all of the bad ones like when he was able to get up and fight on in the Legion of Superheroes episode after getting blindsided. He also put in a great effort during the Starcrossed invasion. I also do appreciate the fact that he doesn’t have to keep his secret identity a secret. He just transforms whenever he wants too and that lets him act a lot quicker than some of the other heroes. As with Superman, his power is low balled quite a lot to make the villains look good since he should be able to take most of them down without a sweat. The Justice League is just too strong though so it is to be expected. Guys like Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, and Superman can take whole superhero teams down on their own. With all 7 united, there are very few foes who can last against them.
Next up is the Flash. This isn’t Barry though as the show opted to use Wally West. This means that his personality is closer to Spiderman’s than Superman. Wally can be fun to have around as he always keeps the atmosphere light. He can flirt a bit too much at times, but for the most part he is actually funny instead of just being super annoying the whole time. He does have a tendency to trip quite a lot, but that just goes back to the plot hax issue. There aren’t many villains who can legitimately land a hit on Flash so unless the writers can be really creative, they end up having to wave the flag of defeat by low balling Flash. One episode that did a good job of giving Flash a real challenge without a lot of plot hax was the Flash museum episode. Mirror Master’s abilities make him a decent match for the Flash and once the hero is stuck on a boomerang, there is only so much that he can do. So far, all of the characters that I have mentioned are likable and can hold their own episode with ease. That is about to change as I do not like the final two members.
Next up is Hawkgirl. She is the perfect example of a character who talks a great game, but can’t really back it up. She has some slight super strength as her stats are similar to that of a super soldier. Hawkgirl’s mace is a great weapon to have around as well. Unfortunately, we all remember how her character went down the tubes in Starcrossed. Granted that it was the movie so whether or not it should be counted in this review is up for debate. It colors all of her actions in a new light and I’d say that it is all right to count it here. Hawkgirl’s drama in Unlimited was also not very interesting and I missed the mask. A positive trait that she has is her eagerness to fight, but this time it was simply not enough to turn her into a likable character. I’m still surprised that she was chosen as one of the original 7. There were definitely other characters who could have worked better. At least Justice League’s writing is still top of the line so Hawkgirl is never terrible aside from Starcrossed. Put her in another show and she would probably outshine most of the characters, but we can’t just ignore Starcrossed. Thanks to that, she is definitely a very bad character.
Finally we have the Martian Manhunter. Theoretically he should be one of the strongest members since he has a great array of useful abilities. Well, I don’t think that the show agreed. He gets some super strength and still has his intangibility and everything, but despite all of this he never looks that good. He spends most of the time getting wrecked by everyone and panics quite a lot. When he tries to scan for Lex Luthor in the Amazo two part adventure, Manhunter is so distressed that he has to fly away and reconnect to himself. He also quite the team for a little while towards the ens of Unlimited and becomes a complete by the books fellow, which hurts him quite a lot. If you’ve read my reviews in the past, you will probably know that I think comrades should always come before the rules. Considering that a teammate was kidnapped by Cadmus, he should have been quick to approve the plan. He is not someone that you can count on in a pinch so there was no way that I was going to like him.
Aside from the main 7, I’d say that Lex Luthor deserves the first mention. He is portrayed very well in Justice League and is often the one who brings a lot of villains together. While he often acted on his own in the Superman show it would appear that he finally saw the value in having underlings work for him. He is easily the most likable villain in the series. His super powered Brainiac form was definitely quite the sight as well. It was a solid power up.
Justice League had a good track record with the more strategic villains. They don’t all have to be powerhouses although those tend to be quite good as well. Amanda Waller is another good example of a solid villain. She may not have been quite as charismatic as Lex, but she still did a pretty good job through and through. Cadmus needed to have a good leader to make them credible and she was really suited for the role. Her banter with Batman was always a lot of fun and she certainly did not lack in confidence.
Mongul is the polar opposite of Waller as he is all about physical combat. I didn’t care for him much in War World as he was portrayed as more of a pretender to power who needed blackmail to win. In Unlimited, they powered him up quite a bit which I thought was a really good idea. He should be able to give Superman a really good fight. I mean…isn’t that the point of a good Superman villain? He has tough competition to compete with there though since Darkseid, Doomsday, and Brainiac are all around as well. Brainiac was a mix of strategic and powerful. Needless to say he is also a great Superman villain. He didn’t get a whole lot to do in the series as his appearances were limited, but he made a big impact whenever he would show up. The two part fusion with Lex was definitely a big moment.
Doomsday is easily the best of the power villains. His first appearance really sold him to be as he had a very Vegeta sequel character to him. He wanted a challenge and was disappointed after wrecking the JL. In Unlimited, he kept his confidence and lived up to the hype. Honestly, I’d say that he was even stronger than Mongul and Darkseid in this continuity but I’d say that you could make a real case for any of the three. They were all very close in power.
Darkseid got the series finale to himself so he definitely had a big role. His final power up was a lot of fun to have and he was always a very cunning villain. Just look at how he baited Superman into doing one last Dash attack with a few well placed words. That’s part of what makes him such a good villain, he is anything but one dimensional. His voice actor did a good job with him and the episodes really gave him the status and recognition that is due. Darkseid is a planetary threat and he leads an incredible army. There are few foes who are this dangerous.
One kind of villain that is usually fun is when a hero gets a dark counterpart. This is a trope across all of media and Justice League was glad to throw a few in as well. Aresia is essentially Wonder Woman if the hero ever went too far. They have a brief fight and are fairly evenly matched. Aresia is an interesting villain who was a little underused, but still managed to be interesting. Galatea is basically evil Supergirl and she got a sizable role. She was one of the stronger villains in the show since she is Supergirl, but physically a little stronger. I’d argue that it’s debatable though as clones are rarely as strong as the original. Galatea’s Ulta (Ultra? Something like that) Men were less impressive, but they were mainly around as a distraction anyway.
Green Arrow is one of those characters that I didn’t remember being awful until I re watched the show for the 10th time. He’s definitely worse than I could have ever imagined. He only joins the team because he hopes to get a date and then he does his best to sabotage the team at every angle. He is supposed to represent the average joe who may find the team scary. Maybe this is good in theory, but certainly not in practice. We don’t need him egging on the civilians after the League was hijacked and nearly destroyed a lot of people. Even when he is “defending” the league, he makes sure to do it in a bad way so that they all look bad. After the Question is kidnapped and the team finds out that Cadmus is responsible, Arrow is against attacking them. (Martian Manhunter agreed…) Arrow just stands for the worst of the League and I was waiting for everyone to boot him out. When the going gets tough, Arrow gets going and that’s not the kind of guy that you want on your team.
Black Canary is a far better character. She is always ready to fight and doesn’t mind breaking the rules when necessary. Her rivalry with Huntress always made for a cool dynamic even if the fights were a little one sided. I still say that Huntress should have the edge in a pure hand to hand fight, but it is what it is. Huntress was even better than Black Canary. She became a mercenary and was booted off of the League. Once she became a loner, Huntress was able to help out a lot more from the shadows. Without her, the Question definitely would have been forgotten. She acts like Batman to an extent as she is certainly a vigilante through and through.
The Question and Captain Atom are two characters who are sort of good at first and then fall down the ladder. Atom’s decent is in a league of its own though. He betrays the whole League and allows the Question to be tortured while he just waits in another room. He did it for the Army, but that just shows that he has no moral compass. There was no way he was going to recover from that and he ended up being one of the worst League members. The Question also cracked as he went off to go destroy Luthor. That was never going to work, but at least I can understand his reasoning. It’s the wrong move, but it was logically sound so it wouldn’t make the character drop all that drastically at all.
Amazo is one of those figures who isn’t a good character, but makes for a good villain. I like having him as an opponent for the League because he’s super strong and his adaptive abilities are really fun. His personality just isn’t that interesting though as he goes from being super naive to super emotional. He also looks embarrassingly bad in his final ever appearance. That was definitely a nice moment of plot hax and Unlimited went a little too far with how powerful they made him. Still, he gave us some of the best episodes in the series. His first two part fight with the League was definitely awesome and his gold mode felt like something out of an anime with how powerful he was. I definitely wish he had gotten to appear more.
Solomon Grundy’s another good villain to have around. He got a really good power up in Unlimited that allowed him to finally have a really good fight with Superman. They’ve had good matches in the past I suppose, but it was always obvious that Superman would wreck him by the end. This new form changed all of that. The show handled the ending pretty badly though. Certainly not the way that the climax to such a fun episode should have went down. Grundy’s not very smart and the show tries to portray him as a nice guy sometimes, but I don’t really buy it. He’s not too bad though.
Gorilla Grodd is one of those villains that I never really cared for. He’s a classic “Talks tough, but can’t back it up” character. Thanks to the fact that this show is amazing, he’s not all that bad. Grodd will never be my kind of villain, but at least you can actually take him seriously here. His ultimate plan was pretty terrible and I’m glad that Luthor called him out on it. Grodd’s overconfidence was ultimately his downfall, but he made for a good sub villain.
Back to League members, Supergirl was certainly a great character. She got a lot of character development during the show as she went from being a pure hot head to an experienced fighter who was still eager for a challenge. Unlike a lot of the petty characters throughout media who don’t like to be in someone’s shadow, Supergirl embraced the fact that people would think of Superman when they saw her. She was proud to be related to him and continued to excel. It was a shame that we couldn’t see her in the final two episodes, but she had a great role in the series. She was one of the strongest fighters and she was the first one to charge in against Amazo once he made it to Earth. The League shall definitely miss her.
Aquaman’s one of those League members who gets a little too close to politics. I think he’d choose that over his ties with the League which is why I wouldn’t trust him much. This was before the New 52 days so he isn’t all that strong either. At least he’s fairly good at Chess right? Dr. Fate was the leader of the sub Justice League group and he was pretty annoying. He was always very cryptic and making the wrong choices. Sacrificing the few for the many…no wonder he never became a League member!
Felix Faust was a pretty weak villain who eventually became strong by grabbing a magical armor. It shows just how important a good artifact can be in a fight. I definitely didn’t like him as a villain, but at least he was tough in Unlimited. Hades is a villain who was definitely over hyped in Justice League. He actually takes down Superman and Flash, which is pure plot hax. His design is cool, but the character is not. It’s a bit of a trend for some of these villains, but if it makes for good fights then I’m game. There are certainly a bunch of other characters in the show so enjoy meeting them all once you start! Some characters are pretty cool like Star Sapphire and Mirror Master while others aren’t handled well like Hawkman and the Ult(r)a men.
You will not be surprised to hear that Justice League is a technical masterpiece. The animation doesn’t just hold up well against the newer shows, it destroys them. There has never been an American TV show with better animation and I’m starting to doubt that there ever will be. The character designs were all on point and that made the 3 fight scenes even better. Fights can only be so good when the character models are bad so having really good ones like the type found here can make quite the difference. Some episodes in particular also stand out for the great animation. One such example is the opening three part special. I dare say that it may have had the best animation in the series. It was also a rare example of a night time fight done right. The animation stays solid throughout the rest of the series and into Unlimited. It was simply way ahead of its time. There was never a moment where I looked at back at a full episode and didn’t find it to be brilliant.
We also can’t forget about the great soundtrack that the show had. It used a wide variety of themes over the course of the show. In particular, I’d say that Unlimited had the best themes. For The Man Who Has Everything’s music was extremely good. It had a lot of good rock music and really threw you into the episode. We also had a quick moment of Batman Beyond music. Another good tune was the one that played during the battle between Superman and Doomsday in Unlimited. Opera type themes like that can be quite epic. There are a lot of other great themes like that scattered around. As for the first theme song, its decent. I do appreciate it a little more than I used too, but it still isn’t great. Unlimited’s theme song is a big step up from the original as it sounds pretty inspiring. It is still rather low budget as far as the images are concerned, but the audio is good.
I think a perfect example of how great the show is on a technical level can be traced back to Luthor vs Grodd as I mentioned earlier. I don’t care for Grodd and I can’t usually take Luthor seriously in a fight. Despite this, the fight was actually very well done. This is due in part to the crisp animation during the fight. It was visually on point throughout. The music chosen was very fitting and illustrated just how important this fight was. The writing was good as proper trash talk can also really help a fight. Finally, the character development that both of them had already received had built up to this fight for a very long time. If a typically uninteresting fight like this one can be very good under this show’s direction, you can just imagine how awesome the other fights are. Superman vs Shazam, Captain Atom vs Superman, Superman vs Mongul, Darkseid vs Superman, Doomsday vs Superman, etc. It’s hard to describe just how awesome they are.
I really want to go off on a tangent about why I think the Justice League are so much better than the Avengers, but I do verbally attack the latter quite a lot lately. I’ll just briefly say that of the 7 members in the show, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Superman could probably beat the Avengers on their own. Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, and Batman teaming up could also potentially pull this off although it would be very close. Ignoring the power levels though, the Justice League are just a lot more likable because they are loyal. The Avengers are constantly splitting up because the government plays them against each other or adds some new law in. The Justice League have never taken orders like that and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. In the latest Avengers Assemble episode, The Avengers allowed the Hulk to be given a thunder collar that would constantly zap him and while they halfheartedly talk about it, they simply allow it to happen. They let the government treat the Hulk like a slave or an animal. The Justice League would never allow one of their members to be treated like that. Nuff said.
Overall, This was definitely a long review. Typically I discuss the arcs more generally or just choose less episodes, but Justice League has always been a very special series so giving it a more thorough review was fun. It’s my 5th favorite show of all time and if we discount anime, then it’s number 1. There is no comic book show even remotely in the same league as Justice League and I dare say that nothing will ever reach its level. It is American perfection as far as I am concerned with animation. I could go back and talk about the positives as I wrap up, but you already know what I think of the show in great detail. So, instead of all that I’ll just recommend that you go watch the series if you haven’t already. I have a policy of only giving one perfect score per field on the blog so Yugioh GX already claimed the 10/10, but that’s the only thing stopping this show. It’s essentially perfect and it will show you why the Justice League is and always will be the greatest superhero team in fiction.
Alright, we’re back with more Green Lantern comics! In this one, the New Gods step in so we take a little break from the main plot that’s been going on. It’s just how it goes with Tie ins, but as long as the event is really good this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think Green Lantern is a little underpowered here and it shouldn’t be so easy to develop a counter weapon to the Power Ring imo. This volume has a lot of action and is setting things up for the Darkseid War so it is a must read.
The New Gods hack into the Green Lantern database to find out more about the rings and they also want to take Kyle Rayner since he may be helpful for the Anti-Life Equation. The Green Lanterns decide to retaliate which leads to a full scale war with the New Gods. They will need some backup though and this quickly results in the Sinestro corps, Black Lantern Corps, Star Sapphires, Blue Lanterns, and all of the others to emerge. Can they get along long enough to deal with these guys though?
We really see just how strong Orion and the other New Gods are in this comic. It is good to see them look so powerful because they honestly should be. If they were lightweights it just wouldn’t make that much sense. There is still a lot of plot hax in how they are able to bust through the Green Lantern constructs so easily with their anti ring weapons though. It is consistently said to be the greatest weapon in the universe so there shouldn’t be any kind of counter to it.
At least it helps to strengthen my opinion that Hal is easily the best Green Lantern. He reminds the others that their constructs can always come out on top as long as their Will Power is on point and he never backs down. He does lose to Orion in their initial meetup, but it was hardly a fair fight. I’d like to say that he would have won in round 2, but then the Black Lantern had to wreck it. It was a bit of a low blow although Hal didn’t seem to mind, which was a little iffy. Hal’s done a great job of leading the GL Corps while the Guardians have stepped down and attacking the New Gods immediately was certainly the right move. Getting some backup was also wise since they would have been completely overwhelmed with sheer numbers otherwise.
It was a really awesome scene when Black Hand (Leader of the Black Lanterns) was able to animate the Source Wall and reawaken all of the people there. That included the big villains from the previous GL arcs and a lot of legendary monsters who were known as the strongest of the strongest. Even the New Gods really paled in comparison to these guys and they were soundly defeated. Naturally Black Hand couldn’t keep control of them for very long and he started to perish due to the Source Wall effect, but even for just being temporarily it was impressive and the best visual in the collection.
I focused on the New Gods part a lot, but the final 3 issues do go back to the main plot. Hal decides to take a little vacation to relax from the galaxy threatening situations of late, but soon realizes that it is hard to get away from it all. The Flash and Guy Gardner effectively remind him that his job as a Green Lantern is something that he can’t get away from. After having a talk with Star Sapphire as well, Hal makes a bold decision. He’s going to quit the Green Lantern corps. The universe is still very upset at the group for the Power Ring controversies so Hal decides to pose as the villain to clean the rep of the group.
He stages a betrayal with Kilowog and flees with one of the Power Batteries. Only Kilowog knows the truth so now he is on the hunt from every single star system and galactic group across the universe. For all we know, even the Justice League will be against him. It is going to be very hard for Hal to survive for long on his own, but he’s a survivor so he can take care of himself. I’ll admit that I’m not super thrilled about this decision. Hal was just coming into his own as a leader and we could have certainly had many great stories that could have come from that. Well, the idea of Hal being a loner as a while can be cool too.
As for the other characters, Sinestro had a good role in this collection. He aided the Green Lanterns when it counted even if he proved that he still can’t be trusted to stick with the mission in the end. His main goal is still to protect his own interests, but he did make a difference. He’s a fun rival to have for Hal. Kilowog’s also a pretty nice mentor and at least Hal can always count on him. Star Sapphire’s decision to part ways with Hal, but still leave him with some hope seems a little dicey, but hopefully that drama is essentially over now.
Orion was surprisingly likable in this issue. He knew that the All Father was being very unreasonable and corrupt. He didn’t mind mentioning this to the guy’s face either and it’s why rebellious characters can be good to have at times. He can also back up his tough talk and there’s no unnecessary romance with Wonder Woman to keep him down here. Mogo is cool as always and the rest of the Green Lanterns are fairly useful. The comic has a good cast and even the All Father may have learned his lesson. He claims that he will go back to his original mission of protecting people from Darkseid rather than becoming another villain so we’ll see if he is true to his word.
As always, the artwork for the Green Lantern collection is nothing short of excellent. All of the fights are really fun to look at. No other title does space fights quite as well as the Green Lantern series and that’s good since this series needs a lot of space action scenes. Adding in the New Gods also helped to connect this to the rest of the DCU and while that’s not necessary for a good GL comic as the previous graphic novels have shown, it is always fun to see. I’m definitely ready for the Justice League to show up as guest stars, that would be a blast! There is not a single panel where the artwork looks off.
Overall, Green Lantern continues its run of quality issues with this collection. The stakes may not have literally been as high as some of the older ones since the Galaxy was on the brink, but nonetheless they felt just as high. The war between the New Gods and Darkseid will surely have universal ramifications and the fact that both sides seem fairly corrupt is a sign that the Green Lanterns are going to have to work overtime to stop them all. As long as Hal is the leader of the Green Lantern corps, I’m sure that they are going to go far. Of course, with Hal no longer being the leader, the status quo is certainly going to be shaken up. I wonder how long the series can possibly go without Hal going back to his role. It’s an ambitious decision, but this series can pull it off. Hopefully by the time Hal joins up with the Corps again they will have beefed up their tranks a little. I want the Corps to be a universal threat like the good ole days. Right now they are really light on manpower so I’m thinking that some new recruits are in order. Maybe bringing in Supergirl and Cyborg for starters. Even better….another Hal Jordan from a different universe!
Now it’s time to take a look at the Superman show! Unlike Batman, Superman never really got any shows after this, which was really too bad. He had the ultra old shows from the good ole days, which were a lot of fun, but Superman needs a new one. Ah well, it would have a tough time beating this one anyway as this is the definitive Superman cartoon, which really defined the character. I still consider this to be the definitive Superman portrayal. Between owning all of the collections for this one and the Batman show, our comic book show collection is going strong!
The Superman show was much shorter than the Batman one, but with around 50 episodes give or take a little, I’d say that it still had a good run. We got to see a lot of villains and there were a lot of plot lines to wrap up. I’d also say that the series had more guest stars than the Batman cartoon, which is impressive considering its smaller size. It doesn’t have that same theater feel, but that’s all right since Superman accepts its position as more of a comic book series from start to finish. It’s fantastical and gets pretty out there at times, but this is a Superman show so that’s really how it should be.
As with the Batman review, I’ll quickly highlight some of the good episodes and maybe mention one or two, which fell flat for me before going into the characters. Naturally, Lobo’s big debut made for a good two parter. The fight between him and Superman was a lot of fun and Lobo is crazy in an interesting way for the most part. Likewise, Blasts from the Past was another good story arc as two Kryptonians arrive from the Phantom Zone and try to trick Superman. When that doesn’t work, it’s fighting time and seeing Superman go up against foes who are nearly as strong as him is always a blast. Of course, they don’t have Superman’s longer exposure to the sun or his genius intellect.
Speed Demons was really fun as the Flash makes for a great guest star. I still say that Superman would easily beat him in a race, but I know that Flash fans would beg to differ. The Weather Wizard wasn’t much of a threat…but who would be right? Father’s Day was another good one as it saw the debut of Kalibak. We can’t forget the Hand of Fate either as Dr. Fate helped Superman fight off a demon. That episode was a lot of fun and the creature had a good design.
There are many more really good episodes, but let’s talk about what could be the best one. The three part World’s Finest event! Batman comes into town and Superman doesn’t like that since the Dark Knight’s tactics can be…questionable. Lex Luthor and Joker also decide to team up so the heroes have a real fight on their hands. Naturally, the big draw was that the heroes would finally be meeting up and I’ve seen those three episodes over a dozen times. This was an awesome event and I never tire of them.
Batman would appear two more times as Superman teamed up with Robin to find him and when they teamed up against Ra’s Al Ghul. Supergirl’s opening two parter was another great arc as she got to fight the Furies and help Superman out. The final two parter with Darkseid was definitely intense although I don’t believe that Superman could ever be mind controlled. It was still definitely an intense arc. Darkseid’s first two part event was also quite good as well as the episode where Clark Kent appears to have died in a car crash.
Another solid episode had the Legion of Superheroes arrive to help Superman in the past. Those characters never got to appear all that much in animation although they had a great episode in Justice League Unlimited, which was certainly neat for their fans. Seeing Superman in high school was also neat as he took down the bullies while still learning more about his true strength. He went a little far with the bully, but it was still relatively minor to what the average character would have done and Superman learned his lesson. The bully did have a rough time of it later on as he was thrown quite a long distance. (But lived somehow)
There are a lot of entertaining episodes to be found in this show. Ranging from light hearted Clark Kent themed ones to the dark and intense Darkseid episodes. The show really knows how to alter the mood depending on the situation and it makes for a lot of good stories. Superman is always in character and since the writing is always good, that takes care of most of my main concerns.
As for episodes that were more of a miss for me, basically any Bizarro episode. I definitely didn’t care for those stories. Obsession was another episode that fell flat. Basically, any time the villain is obsessed over getting a girl, the episode is going to fail because it just makes the villain look so petty. There are other episodes out there that don’t rank too high either due to animal shenanigans or villains who weren’t very cool, but for the most part, nearly all of the episodes were quite good.
Naturally, Superman is an incredible main character. He is the definition of heroic and definitely stands up for justice. While Batman gets things done in the shadows, Superman gets to be around during the daytime. The public is usually very appreciative of him and Superman does his best to keep their trust. Darkseid wrecks this for him in the end, but it’s always nice to see Superman get public support. After seeing so many heroes run from the government and be despised by the world, Superman is always a nice contrast to that.
While some may find his incredible abilities to make him boring, I’d say that they help to make him such a great character. He is supposed to be virtually perfect so then you can see how well we could all handle tough situations if we were invincible. Superman always makes the right calls and he’s a great role model for anyone. Naturally, he’s a little too tough in the sense that he has to get nerfed in just about every episode or else it would all be too easy. So, get ready for a lot of plot holes involving the power levels. Superman shouldn’t lose to just about any of the situations that he’s put in, but you can just assume that he is holding back and toying with the opponents. This is practically canon after Justice League anyway.
Superman’s supporting cast is stronger than Batman’s if you ask me. Naturally, Lois Lane has a huge role here and she instantly beats the people surrounding Batman. She’s constantly going on dangerous missions so Superman has to come to the rescue. That being said, she can fight and Lois is still prepared for many dangerous situations. It’s just that she tends to attract super threats who aren’t deterred so easily. Her bold personality has won Lois many fans and this is definitely the best portrayal of her character. She is supposed to be tough and independent, two traits that the show does a good job of showing.
Beyond that, Superman’s supporting cast don’t really get huge roles. Perry White is around to remind Clark that he needs to step up his game. A drunk sailor is typically around to back up Superman. He’s a nice guy and a good character even if he could have used some more screen time. Lana doesn’t appear very often either. I always found her to be a likable character back in the Smallville days, but the city life didn’t do her any wonders as she became the head of a fashion show and got tricked by people in the know. She also didn’t handle the puppet lady too well, but since she knows Clark’s true identity, at least she can typically count on a save since he’s always pretty close when in Metropolis.
We’ve also got Jimmy Olson here as well. I’ve never been a big Jimmy fan in any continuity, but he had some decent moments I suppose. He certainly looks better here than in some other adaptions like Superman vs Doomsday where he sold out. Thurpin was essentially the big cop in the Superman continuity. He didn’t last as long as Bullock, but he was certainly a good officer. He definitely didn’t mind jumping into danger and he talked tough right up until the bitter end. That being said, antagonizing the enemy is something that you should typically only do when you have super powers or can think of a way to survive the situation.
We also can’t forget Superman’s super powered help like Steel. He didn’t get to appear all that much, but he was a nice guy before he adopted the persona so it was cool to see him get his blows in. He would have a small role in Justice League as well, but a pivotal one as he held off Galatea for a little while. Green Lantern makes a brief appearance and he looks pretty good. It was a nice way to see his origin story even if he would never really do much in the continuity again. Sinestro made for a fun villain in that episode.
Another guest star for the series was the Flash of course. He was certainly a fun addition to the team. Supergirl had a fairly big role as she helped out in quite a few multi part episodes. She was introduced a little late in the series, but she mastered her abilities with great speed. Her powers never seemed to be as impressive as Superman’s, but she helped fight off an invasion and cover for Superman when he was out of town. She even got some episodes to herself where she proved her meddle. Supergirl’s always been a really fun character and I’d say that this show really nailed it with her portrayal.
As for the villains, Superman definitely dealt with quite a few heavy weights during the series. Metallo was one of the main stays who appeared quite a few times through the episodes. It’s safe to say that he’s nowhere near Superman’s level in strength, but he did put up quite a few close fights thanks to his Kryptonite. It’s a running gag that he always clobbers Superman at least once with that gimmick. For the most part I’ve always been a Metallo fan. He can be a little cheesy and act like a generic grunt at times, but for the most part he’s a pretty neat villain.
That being said, I prefer Parasite. His gimmick has always been cool as he can steal energy from Superman and grow stronger. I grew up with this design thanks to the Gamecube design and it always made me think of him as a really cool villain. He’s technically not too much of a threat unless he can grab Superman, but he’s able to do that quite often so I guess that would make him a legitimate threat right? Livewire was not quite as likable in her human form although I did like her gimmick of basically being against everyone. She thinks that adults are part of the old way and basically tries to incite rebellion at every chance that she can get. Even Clark Kent had enough at one point and Superman always tries to act mild mannered in that form. I do like Livewire’s confidence though as she seriously believes that she can win the fight.
Lobo is naturally a pretty chaotic villain who gives Superman a tough time. He’s definitely not my kind of villain in the sense that he’s constantly looking for romance and flirts with Lois. It’s sad because he’s a cool character otherwise. He reminds Superman that he is The Man and I like to see him fight other villains. He would make a brilliant rival/”anti hero” (likable villain) if not for his character flaws. If nothing else, he’s a pretty fun character to watch. I’d say that he’s essentially a better version of Bizarro. I personally don’t find Bizarro all that funny or entertaining. Typically his stories just end up being tragic and you can’t help, but feel bad for the guy. He gives Superman some tough fights, but he’s typically just misunderstood.
Naturally, Darkseid has a fairly big role in this series. He’s a villain from the shadows from the most part, but he does step out into the limelight when the time is right. He’s a very strategic villain who rarely fights himself even though he has the power to do so. He prefers to break Superman through other means like telepathy. Naturally, Superman can crush him when going all out, but Darkseid has the edge otherwise. He launched a pair of pretty solid invasions on Earth and he’s definitely one of Superman’s ultimate villains. He’s a fighter who always has a threatening presence.
Granny Goodness is also around, but she’s really just there to be a weak villain who lets her minions do all of the work. It’s definitely hard to find any reason to really like the character. The Furies are decent fighters and I like them as enemies for Superman and Supergirl, but their personalities aren’t really existent. I also call plot hax whenever they appear since they shouldn’t pose much of a threat physically.
Brainiac is definitely known as one of Superman’s most deadly opponents. I mainly became a fan of him through the DCAU as I liked his new mecha design much more than the traditional green one. He could actually give Superman a pretty good fight when they met up and his laser blast against Lex would certainly have some future ramifications. This genius always has a backup plan and while it is not enough to take down someone like Superman, it makes for some good episodes.
Toyman has always been a bit of a recurring Superman villain. He can be amusing at times and unlikable for the rest of the episodes. I can’t say that he’s typically my kind of villain, although he’s much better than other interpretations of the character. The one in Superman vs Doomsday for example, Toyman looked pretty bad there. Kalibak’s surprisingly more likable, although his whole gimmick is that he’s strong, but not very smart. I liked the fights between him and Superman and even the senior Kents got involved. That was one of the episodes which had a lot of fun with the soundtrack and Superman just seemed to be in shock for the whole fight. Once he snapped out of that, it was game over for Kalibak!
Superman’s animation is naturally solid as it came out during the prime of western animation! The fights are even better than Batman’s as Superman trades blows with heavyweights like Darkseid and Lobo. Buildings are shattered and Superman is taken to his very limits during some of these fights. The visuals are always very bright and you will clearly be able to see everything as it unfolds. This definitely doesn’t feel dated and should continue to look good for some time.
As for the soundtrack, the Superman show had a lot of fun altering it to fit whatever the episode’s theme was. For example, the Lobo episode used a lot of crazy disco music throughout the episode. Some will play out more like the retro Superman, heroic themes that you would expect. The music can go from ancient to futuristic, from elevator styled peace to chaotic war themes. Superman really has it all and it’s why I’d say that the soundtrack is pretty stunning. No matter what type of music you like, you should find some good themes to listen to during the show.
There aren’t any other Superman shows to compare this too so let’s look at where it ranks compared to all superhero shows! Right off the bat, it loses to Justice League, but beats up every other DC show. Really, the only other show that I would say is really close would be Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. After a little thought, I would still say that Superman has the advantage here as it has the solid edge in fight scenes. At 2nd place in the all time lists, that’s pretty impressive for the show!
Overall, Superman is definitely a great show. He makes for a great lead in it and the characters who surround him are pretty good. Add in the solid soundtrack, good animation, and the fun battles and you have got a winner here. You’ll definitely be cruising through the episodes once you start and there’s no turning back. You can continue these adventures in Justice League and then you’ll find it hard to watch the newer versions of the characters. I highly recommend this to all comic fans or to anyone who likes a good adventure with solid writing and some action to top it all off!
This is a comic that I knew would be good right from the start. I’m a big Superman fan after all and Darkseid is one of his best villains. A compilation of some of their biggest battles was sure to be good and I wasn’t disappointed. The comics did a good job of showing Darkseid’s strength without nerfing Superman. This was how the characters were meant to be portrayed!
The first few issues are about Superman getting trapped on Apokolips and he also loses his memories once he falls into a large area of fire. He decides to lead the rebels to fight Darkseid, but there is a big twist at the end of this and we find out that Superman is being manipulated. This was probably the only part of the collection that I wasn’t crazy about. I’ve gone over this a few times already, but Superman cannot be mind controlled. It simply isn’t done and to lose his memory like that….I don’t think so. Such a thing just wouldn’t happen to Superman!
It’s actually a fairly tragic story because the rebels basically had their hope shattered. Superman is not allowed to keep his memories of what happened and that is probably for the best. Still, he definitely gave Darkseid a good fight and Superman managed to come out on top. It was a fair bout, which was the best part of the whole match. It was a good fight between two powerhouses and both of them were giving it their all.
See, Darkseid and Superman have always been evenly matched, but I consider Superman to be stronger thanks to his speed advantage. In this collection, Superman comes out on top each time except for one comic where Darkseid got unlimited cosmic power, which naturally doesn’t count. If we bring in Superman 1 Million, then we can talk. That being said, the fights are always really good and the intensity never lets up for a second!
Another issue was taken from the Superman/Batman series where Darkseid brainwashed Supergirl so Superman brought Batman and Wonder Woman along to free her. Big Barda led them to Darkseid’s palace and the heroes messed the place up. Superman handled Supergirl while Batman took down Darkseid….verbally although he could have done well in a physical confrontation.
if he had prep time Then we got a really good battle between Superman and Darkseid. Superman was in total rage mode so it wasn’t really that close as Superman wrecked him with ease and planted Darkseid into the source wall. I don’t even have anything against that because an enraged Superman should be far stronger than Darkseid. There is no comic book character who can beat Superman at this point and I consider the Man of Steel to be on top of the food chain.
While I liked the Superman/Batman Apocalypse film a lot, the comic was so much better after reading this issue. The fact that Batman and Wonder Woman apparently suspected that Darkseid would be back and followed Superman/Supergirl to the farm was brilliant. While they didn’t get to fight much since Superman wanted to end things, it made the characters really look good. In the film, Superman got wrecked by Darkseid, but he was the one doing the wrecking here in the comic. It came at the expense of Supergirl’s fight, but the fight was certainly more accurate here since Superman’s speed is his biggest asset. This issue was definitely a lot of fun.
Another comic had Superman assemble a team of Kryptonians to battle Darkseid for Steel’s soul. Superboy, Supergirl, Supergirl 2, and the Eradicator were the guys that Superman brought with him. The reason why he only brought Kryptonians was so Darkseid couldn’t take it out on the rest of the world if Superman’s plan failed. (Really dicey plan since Darkseid would likely attack Earth to spite Superman) Darkseid’s minions engaged the Kryptonians and did fairly well thanks to the insane numbers advantage. It was essentially hundreds to thousands of opponents against the heroes, but each Kryptonian is incredibly powerful so that wasn’t a problem for them. The Eradicator is a character who I haven’t seen very often, but he certainly looked impressive here and even had a super form where he turned giant.
Naturally, the main part of the comic was the fight between Darkseid and Superman. Both of them were really confident going into the match. It was another decisive victory for Superman, but they both gave the fight their all. Superman properly utilized his speed in order to get the edge over Darkseid. In the end, Superman was able to win Steel’s soul back and it was a really nice ending to a good comic. From the Superman vs Darkseid battles in the collection, this was certainly the best one and both fighter looked impressive once again.
Another issue featured a big battle between Darkseid and The Source. Somehow, Darkseid was able to steal the cosmic being’s abilities and gained near limitless power. The Source put up a valiant fight, but he was outmatched and even Superman could really due nothing thanks to the large gap in power. He was a distraction at best, but that allowed Orion to come in and stall Darkseid as well. The cosmic feats were a lot of fun and Darkseid was still fighting physically, which is always a good thing. While the Superman and Darkseid fight was essentially nonexistent here, it did give us an issue where Darkseid came out on top and Superman even had a long monologue about how he now knows what it feels like to be the weak guy surrounded by powerful players who are out of his league. Luckily, that didn’t stop him from entering the fray.
Jimmy Olsen also got to enter the fray in one comic where he gained immense powers and got to fight with Darkseid. I believe that this may have been during the same arc with Orion or a different one. Regardless, it was also a fun tribute to the Silver Age since Jimmy’s old lizard/reptile form got to make a comeback. Obviously not the most memorable part of the issue since I don’t remember the full context, but still a cool occurrence.
There’s also a very short issue about Darkseid’s origin and how he destroyed all of the old gods to gain almost unlimited power and a quick Justice League issue from the New 52 where we learn that Darkseid has been travelling around the multiverse and destroying dozens of Superman versions until he lost to the New 52’s version. That’s some good hype for Darkseid although I would consider many versions of Superman to be stronger than the New 52 one. I suppose that these guys just didn’t have it in them to win.
In the comics, Darkseid seems to be much stronger than New 52 Superman although these comics definitely show that Superman typically has the edge. It’s why I enjoyed the battles so much as they were all fairly close except that Superman always won in the end. One of the fights wasn’t even close because Superman was already enraged. His portrayal here is naturally excellent and this is the hero that I know and remember. Darkseid made for a good antagonist and he’s always been an interesting character. Having a trade paperback just about these two characters was a genius idea. Especially because I haven’t read many DC comics from this era.
The art switches for all of the issues of course, but they all look really good, which helps the overall experience. If I had to decide which art was my favorite, I’d probably go with the issue from the Superman/Batman series. Of course, I’m very used to the art at this point so it shouldn’t really come as a surprise. The issue with the Eradicator would be a decently close second.
Overall, Superman vs Darkseid is a great collection of comics and one that I would definitely recommend you to check out. Each of the stories is pretty epic and there aren’t any real negatives to speak of aside from the opening chapter where Superman was mind controlled. I really didn’t buy that for a second and evil Superman is a concept that has never worked from the beginning. Luckily, the rest of the comics are really just about showing how great Superman is and why he can’t be stopped by any threat. He is the ultimate comic book character and I never let anyone forget it. The size of the collection is decent. It’s short enough that I would still call it short, but not quite as quick to read as the average modern trade paperback, which only brings 4 issues. This is a steal for any current price!
Darkseid is one of DC’s strongest fighters and he should not be underestimated for any reason! His abilities are pretty fierce and he has traded blows with Superman in the past! That’s definitely no easy feat and Gon will have a pretty big match! That being said, Darkseid just won’t be able to get past Gon’s nen abilities and he’ll have to take a tough loss. Gon continues to get more and more wins as he fights on the blog! Gon wins.
Shazam is essentially a “Superman” but with slightly inferior stats. How slight the difference is depends on what incarnation you are viewing. In the DCAU, Shazam was able to give Superman an impressive fight and I believe that the same would happen with Darkseid. Darkseid is incredibly powerful, but I believe that Shazam could match him. Speedwise, I believe that Shazam also has the edge which brings us to a similar scenario as the Green Lantern match. The critical difference is that Shazam’s raw power is around Darkseid level and his attacks would do some decent damage. This time, I don’t think that Darkseid’s defense will be able to hold up and Shazam will take a narrow victory. Definitely a controversial call, but Shazam is very powerful. He’s particularly impressive in his battle against Black Adam in the DC movie. Shazam wins.
This is another close battle of DC powerhouses. Green Lantern has proven that he can go up against heavyweights like Darkseid in the past, but can he win? I’d say that Green Lantern has the speed advantage in this round and his GL Power Ring will come in handy. With the amount of energy that he can shoot out, Green Lantern will definitely get his share of hits in. The main problem that is presented to Green Lantern is the fact that Darkseid’s durability is insanely high. The majority of Green Lantern’s attacks will only cause minimal damage at best whereas Darkseid’s attacks will definitely cause some damage. Green Lantern’s abilities just weren’t enough this time and he takes a narrow loss in this round. Darkseid wins.