Batman & Robin Adventures Volume 1 Review

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It’s time for some more Batman adventures! Robin gets to be a main character throughout this time which is certainly cool with me. He adds some witty banter to the dynamic and is the only Robin who grew up with Batman for this long so he can call the Dark Knight out if he disagrees with him. The stories are a little more serious than the normal Batman Adventures or at least it feels that way so Batman should definitely be glad that he has the backup. It’s a pretty solid collection of stories that has aged well.

The first two stories make up the initial adventure as Two Face has yet another relapse. He had been close to getting out of jail, but Joker tricks him into thinking that Bruce Wayne has backstabbed him by getting together with Two Face’s friend. He believes Joker of course since he has no reason to doubt the Crown Price of Crime and gets to work on taking revenge against Bruce Wayne. He even managed to kidnap Dick Grayson who had previously warned Batman that he had way too high of an opinion on Two Face. He doesn’t really believe in Two Face’s potential to turn good again unlike Batman. By the end of the issue Batman seems to agree as he finally considers Two Face to just be another thug. It’s a rather dark ending, but I probably agree with it. Two Face is constantly turning evil and I can’t seriously see him ever turning into a good guy. It’s just not who he is. It was a decently fun adventure although I still don’t like Two Face which limits it a little.

The next story had the Riddler return. He finally figured out that Batman had to be a rich billionaire who lived in Gotham to he kidnaps everyone who attended the latest billionaire meeting. Fortunately Batman doesn’t go to events like that and shows up to foil his plans. It’s a pretty straight forward adventure but I have to give the Riddler some credit for piecing the puzzle together. After all it just makes a lot of sense that Batman has to be rich and since there is a whole club for it, it was just a good idea. He may have lost the day, but he ultimately won the war.

After that, the next story was a Penguin adventure. He wants to free the Birds from the Zoo so he is smuggling them back to their homes, but only after they help him get rich. Ah well, there goes his sympathy points. Fortunately Batman is ready for them, but he does have to go through a few birds to do it which wasn’t cool. Batman should have just had some sleeping gas or something which could have stopped them dead in their tracks. It would have been a more peaceful way to claim victory. This was easily the weakest adventure in the collection.

I think the production values took a slight hit in the following story as everyone turns chibi at certain points and the character model is all over the place. Still, it’s a fun Joker comic so it still manages to be pretty good. He has vowed to destroy the Riddler so Batman decides to stop him. The problem is that Joker apparently always gets his man although the comic starts with someone managing to escape him. Batman basically foils him at every turn and doesn’t even let Joker take down any minor villains. I can see why Joker would be upset by the end since it was a pretty rough day for him. It was some nice hype for Batman’s detective skills though and Joker fans should be happy that he came so close.

The next story was another highlight as a magazine reports that Batman has fired Robin. Batman decides not to tell the magazines that this is a lie because he doesn’t deal with reports like that. It’ll all blow over. The problem is that a lot of people start dressing up as Robin and getting into trouble as they can’t handle the thugs of Gotham. This is getting out of hand, but what can they do? You can imagine the fun hijinx that ensues from all of this and the main Robin gets to prove himself once more. My only gripe with this one is that the fake Robins maybe talk a little too tough to Batman and get away with it. Like the one guy who basically threatened Batman not to try and make him go away so Batman just let him come along for a bit. I just don’t think threatening Batman is ever a good idea, but I suppose this guy knew how to make it work.

Back to a bit of a weak story as the Ventriloquist shows up. He breaks out of jail and decides to destroy his Mom so Batman has to really hurry this time. There’s a twist as his Mom is already dead, but he destroyed a picture of her and then shot himself. It’s just a very boring story with an unlikable villain. There’s just no real hook with this villain as he’s about as generic as they come and he’s not crazy in a good way. You can make a crazy villain be entertaining…or you can just make a villain be like the Ventriloquist.

Robin doesn’t look too good in the next comic as he is defeated by Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn and then brainwashed to do their bidding. The whole thing is a little humiliating for him but he gets a lot of hype as even Batman can’t out think him. Robin’s plans are simply too good and it shows that he really has learned a lot over the years. He isn’t the boy wonder that he used to be, Robin is now a true crime fighting expert. It wasn’t really my kind of story as Harley and Ivy rarely make for a great villain team up, but as a Robin fan I enjoyed seeing him get so much hype.

We get a Batgirl vs Talia story which is pretty fun. Batgirl had just been leaving her day job when Talia walked in and took down the guards. This naturally led to a scuffle but Talia proved to be way too strong for Batgirl which is really accurate. I like Batgirl as much as the next guy, but there is absolutely no way that she can hope to take down Talia. Talia is a master at hand to hand combat while Batgirl has just taught herself enough to beat the common crooks at this point. Talia tries her best to defeat Batgirl without destroying her which proves to be as difficult as you’d expect. While the ending is a little cheesy, it had to happen since having the villain actually win in the end would have been a little crazy. It was definitely one of the better stories with quite a lot of action to be found inside.

The final story has Talia return to tell Batman that she wants to stop Ra’s plan to destroy most of the world again. Robin isn’t invited but manages to follow them in secret as Batman unleashes his plan. It’s a pretty fun comic although Ra’s is probably overplayed by this point. His plans also always seem very easy to stop but I guess the strength of them is how well he covers them up. After all, if Talia hadn’t tipped off Batman, nobody would have even known that he was planning anything. He could have leveled part of the world before anyone even knew something was wrong. That’s actually pretty impressive, but once Batman is on the case, you may as well say that it’s curtains for the villains.

The collection is pretty similar to the last Batman one I read, but with more Robin stories which is always a good thing. Ironically despite the title he still missed a few issues here. I suppose that’s just how it goes and he can’t be in all of them but he does make the comics more fun. He finally gives Batman someone to bounce ideas off of and his detective skills are nothing to sneeze at. Batman’s also pretty great as per usual so the heroic duo is really on point.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this collection if you haven’t read it yet. It’s a pretty good bundle of light hearted action stories and the writing is on point. The art is also pretty good and you’ll really be able to appreciate the designs. Some of the stories may lag behind the others, but I wouldn’t actually call them bad either. Even the weakest of stories can still be fairly decent in its own right. I have one more Batman collection coming up so keep an eye out for that review in the near future.

Overall 7/10

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The Batman Adventures Volume 2 Review

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It’s time for another Batman Adventures review. The DCAU adventures have been a lot of fun and so I was expecting quality from the start. Fortunately, that is exactly what I got in return. This collection brings 10 stories and they are all from the main title so no specials of anniversary issues. It’s cool because so far the series has managed to do that for the first two volumes. None of the stories are bad which makes for a consistent volume.

The first story sees the return of the Man Bat. Everyone assumes that Kirk has had a relapse and he doesn’t help his case by admitting that there are gaps in his memory. Batman steps in, but the clues just don’t add up. It turns out that someone was framing Man Bat. This was a decent story although a slightly weak way to start the volume. As you all may know, I’m not a big Man Bat fan so his stories just aren’t as interesting as the others. Writing was on point though and there technically wasn’t anything wrong with it.

The second story was a Batgirl one as she had to go up against Cat Woman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy. This was a more enjoyable story with a lot of constant action and Batgirl always makes for a good lead. This was pretty early on in her career so I’m a little skeptical on how well she would actually do against these villains in a fight but it was pretty reasonable the whole time. A costume party is always the perfect way to stop crime while keeping your cover as well so it was a good decision on her part to take this chance to attack.

Next up is a team up with Talia and Batman. Essentially, she tricks him into helping her stop some criminals who stole proof of Ra’s illegal deals. That’s actually really impressive if you think about it, but once Batman and Talia are on the case you know that it’s all over. I still don’t buy into the romance part of it, but that’s why it’s always cool that Bruce Wayne is actually just a fake alter ego that Batman made. Batman himself is still all business as per usual and looks good throughout all of the issues.

The next story was a Robin story. I suppose the series was trying to switch up the protagonists pretty consistently. I suppose I can roll with that. The enemy is the Ventriloquist this time so Robin has no trouble taking him down. This seems like it came out just a little before the Nightwing phase so it’s nice to see a Robin who is so confident and competent the whole time. He basically spends the whole comic taking names and even points out something Batman could have done differently in his mission before he was cut off.

Commissioner Gordon got the next story and this one was surprisingly really good. Gordon decides to save a cop who’s been exposed by the villains on his own since he feels guilty about it. He allows Batman to also work on saving him, but tells him not to move in until Gordon has his shot. Gordon takes a lot of the crooks down and does a good job. In the end he may not have been able to win, but you have to admire the attempt. The DCAU definitely did the best job at making him a great character. He was a by the books guy without being overboard to the point where he would try to constantly arrest Batman.

Joker was up next and this issue did a good job of capturing the essence of Joker. He’s a villain, but one with a code of honor. He learns that someone is making comics where he always loses to Batman so he fires the author and kidnaps the replacement so the adventures can be more realistic. As a result, Joker wins in a few of the issues before Batman finally defeated him. As Joker pointed out, he wouldn’t lose so easily this time because he was fighting for the kids. He had to protect them from the comic’s lies. It was just a very entertaining comic to read and Joker actually put up a pretty good fight against Batman when it came time for fisticuffs.

Next up was a Ra’s story as he wants to change the world once again. He always acts as if he will ultimately help the planet which I don’t buy into. I actually preferred the Talia story, but this one isn’t as bad. It plays out as you’d expect and Batman seamlessly infiltrates the enemy ranks and shuts the project down. There wasn’t quite as much action in this story, but it had a good blend of detective work and action mixed in. I definitely liked the ninja outfit that Batman borrowed for the mission and the character who originally wore it must have been pretty cool.

Batgirl and Robin returned for a big team up issue. It was cool to see them team up for what was evidently one of the first times. Robin showed off his experience while Batgirl brought in the X factor they needed to take on the crooks and steal the proof they needed. It was a more low stakes adventure that focused on the core of being a crime fighter, stopping your every day crooks. Technically that is definitely a big part of the job as you can’t expect to see a super villain every time.

A pretty intense story that came up next had the return of the Scarecrow. He found a way to deliver the fear straight to everyone’s minds so they all feared just the sight of him. Nobody was immune so Batman just had to toughen up and get past it. Scarecrow may not be a tough villain, but his fear gimmick is certainly not something to be taken lightly. At least Batman has a lot of experience with dealing with his inner fears so he’s one of the perfect heroes for taking this guy on.

The final issue had a few D list villains escape from prison to unleash their master plan. It was a villain centered story, but it was reasonably amusing. The Nice Guy is certainly an interesting villain and he made the right call in not attacking the dog at the end. It’s probably the most light hearted story in the bunch and is a reasonably good way to end the batch. I probably won’t remember any of those villains, but it was a nice dynamic.

The art is pretty good. The designs from the DCAU are always good to look at and it’s pretty easy to keep track of what’s happening. The issues actually end a lot sooner than usual because each issue only has a few panels and they’re all huge. It makes reading through the comics really easy although I wonder why this is the case. It’s certainly a different style compared to the rest of the DCAU adventures. What really makes this comic solid aside from the art is that the writing is just really good. You can easily picture these stories being full length episodes and everyone stays in character. It’s no wonder why the DCAU has stayed so popular over the years.

Overall, This is a pretty fun collection of stories. There aren’t too many breakout hits that will really stay memorable, but none of the stories are bad. They’re all pretty fun and nostalgic to read through and I look forward to checking out more comics in the series. Ironically I have now read volumes 3 and 2 so I just need to find the original somewhere. With both Batman and Superman having 3 volumes it’ll be interesting to see which one reaches 4 first. If you count spinoffs, then Batman has already won though as I’ll be reading that one next. Get ready for Robin to get more of a role. If you haven’t checked this comic out yet, then I’d definitely recommend changing that!

Overall 7/10

Superman Adventures Volume 2 Review

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It’s time for the next installment in the Superman Adventures series. Honestly it’s been a long time since I rented a comic so it’s good to start off with the greatest Superhero out there. My local library may have had the biggest selection in all of NYPL, but they’re going to be closing their doors for the next 3 years so I figured this could be my last chance to just go and pick out the ones that I wanted. I got quite a few DC comics and one Marvel one so prepare for those reviews to come out soon. In the meantime, this comic was just as great as I expected it to be.

It brings about 7 issues which is a good deal for a graphic novel. The first two stories deal with Superman contracting a rare kryptonite disease and now he is dying. His powers are fading away and the general public doesn’t know about it so they’re all bashing Superman. They claim that he has lost his drive or that he doesn’t want to play the hero anymore. Lois Lane is one of those skeptics until she learns the truth and decides to join a last ditch excavation to try and cure Superman once and for all. She’ll have to go through a war torn country to find it though, but at least this’ll give Superman a fighting chance.

It’s a pretty fun double comic. Hamilton is still annoying since I know he grows up to be a traitor someday but I suppose I’ll try to work around that. Lois is also a little iffy since I would have thought that she’d suspect something instead of also thinking that Superman was getting lazy. At least she is a woman of action though and quickly does her best to revert the situation. It’s just as much a Lois story as it is a Superman one and the dynamic works well. The ending is a little sad for a doctor who helps Superman out though. He was being blackmailed by Lex and is basically told to destroy Superman or to die. The doctor decides not to do it and Superman just tells him that he did the right thing…and then leaves the Doctor. It’s heavily implied that he just left the Doctor to his own devices which seems a little cruel of him. Superman didn’t seem very sympathetic at all but I suppose he’s still sore at almost dying. It would have been a sad way to go.

The next story had less stakes but was pretty amusing. An alien race arrives on Earth and challenges Superman to a best of 3 bout with their champion. He is incredibly strong and has some complex weapons which he uses to overwhelm Superman. The Man of Steel will have to put all of his common sense to use to defeat this opponent and that’s just what he does. What do you do when you’re fighting someone and both of you have weapons that you don’t understand? Just throw it away and win in fisticuffs. There aren’t many who can beat Superman that way after all. The writing may have been a little weak as this guy should not have been throwing Superman around, but I suppose I’ll overlook it in the spirit of just having a good time. Superman also should have been able to lift his medal at the end if you ask me.

There was also a special featured in this collection where Lobo is back in town. Superman inhaled a gas that is deadly to everyone on Earth so he goes to space to find the cure. Turns out Lobo is after the same cure, but only so he can collect the reward. The two ultimately have to team up against a bunch of aliens. Unlike the more gullible characters who fall for Lobo’s tricks, Superman is one step ahead of him the whole time. Their group dynamic is pretty interesting and I’m always up for some good banter. Lobo definitely doesn’t look nearly as impressive as Superman in this comic and I can certainly agree to that. While there may not be as much action as in other comics, it’s certainly one of the better issues here.

If you want one of the weaker issues, look no further than the Robocop issue. There’s this assassin with a Robocop suit who is out to silence all of the witnesses who are against Lex and the other local villains. A TV reporter with something to prove ends up telling him where the last witness is by mistake so now it’s a race against time. It wasn’t a bad comic by any means, but this guy isn’t even remotely a threat during the entire issue. Perry was also being a little unreasonable with how news is only what is written down and not what is recorded. As Lois pointed out, he should just be happy that his cameras are always the first ones on TV. I mean you can’t ask for much more than that right? Even if it is weaker than the others, I’m up for a more street level Superman comic once in a while.

Back to the more outlandish plots, Mr. Mxy- has returned to try and make Superman’s life twisted. He erases Superman’s memories and alters reality so that Clark was never Superman and he is instead. It takes a while for Superman to piece the puzzle together, but Mxy was pretty thorough with how much he changed reality so I can’t really blame him. Superman’s plan is pretty sound after that though. Mr. Mxy is definitely one of his most overpowered foes so it certainly involves plot hax each time. Mr Mxy just shouldn’t read stuff that he doesn’t know. That being said, I’ll take this kind of plot hax over serious power level stuff any day. I also thought Mxy did a great job of impersonating Superman even down to the personality.

On another more street level comic, Bilbo is having a tough time at the bar. See, he’s always lying about knowing Superman and it has finally caught up to him. He feels pretty bad, not about constantly getting drunk or lying to everyone, but he feels bad that nobody bought into his lie. He decides to be a real hero and gets to work beating up a gang. Superman shows up as well and feels bad for Bilbo so he officially makes them friends so now Bilbo isn’t actually lying when he says the stories. At least he has one true story, the rest are technically lies. It’s an entertaining issue, but it’s really hard to actually feel bad for Bilbo as my summary implies. He really brought all of this down upon himself after all. Nobody was pressuring him to make up those fantastic lies after all and he kept sinking himself into a deeper and deeper hole. The comic does show what a nice guy Superman is though.

Finally we have the big Dr. Fate comic. It seems like everyone went to Zatanna’s family to train as Superman also went there in his youth. He worked on fighting monsters and becoming immune to monsters. In the present, one of those monsters has now escaped and aims to take Superman down with him. Superman must remember his training which he can’t remember too well at the moment and take them down. Fate also shows up at the very end, but not as much as you would expect. While the stakes are higher here than in most of the other comics, it didn’t work too well for me. The whole explanations while in the portal were pretty convoluted and it jumped from the present to the past a little too often and suddenly. It was a little hard to keep up with and even the art was rather chaotic. It had a good start and a decent end, but it just all felt a little hollow to me. Ah well, magic is supposed to be confusing I suppose.

The art is very good during the comics. The issue with the best art was probably the Lobo special which makes sense since I imagine they definitely put a lot of effort into that one. The whole collection is quality though and it really captured the DCAU style. It would have been nice if these stories could have kept on going for years and years, but I think we’re reaching the end of them. I have the next collection at the ready though so I’ll be reading that one very soon.

Overall, The collection is a pretty good size. 6 normal issues and two specials is nothing to sneeze at. Superman’s the main character so you can’t go wrong there. It’s his DCAU personality as well so he’s essentially the perfect main character. It really is a Superman story as well since there are basically no guest stars. (Fate appeared so briefly that it barely even counts) I do love me some guest stars and the next collection has at least one, but it also reminds you that Superman is holding up the whole collection and doing it rather easily. Just as important, there are no real negatives in the comic. There are no objectionable scenes of any kind. It’s another reason why I loved the DCAU. You didn’t have to be nervous about reading through it because you know it was made for all ages. The writing is great and the comics are a blast. This was really DC at its height and I still miss these days. If you want a trip down nostalgia lane, this is a great place to start. It’s a must read for all Superman fans.

Overall 8/10

Justice League Action

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DC has finally come up with a new show. I definitely like the fact that this series acknowledges itself as a Justice League Unlimited sequel, at least for now. The fight scenes are good and just having the Justice League back is certainly fun. I’ll have a review for the series when it finishes.

Overall 7/10

Batman Beyond Review

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It’s time for the final main show in the DCAU lineup. I still haven’t seen the Zeta Project or Static Shock yet so those two won’t be getting reviewed for quite a while. I’ll probably be watching them at some point though. Batman Beyond took a very different approach to the Batman mythos and it certainly worked well. I imagine it was probably pretty controversial back in the day and I can only imagine the reaction it would get nowadays. Still, that’s why you have to take a chance sometimes since it can pay off very well.

Batman Beyond takes place well after the events of the original Batman show. Bruce Wayne started to get older and suffered heart problems. He was forced to take off the Cape and cowl. (The final movie in the series has a plot twist so old age wasn’t the cause for Batman’s retirement, but that’s another story) Gotham City has completely reverted back to how it was before Batman showed up. Crooks are everywhere and the civilians are all scared out of their minds. Terry is a teenager who has grown up in this era and has developed into a tough individual who can look out for himself. One day, his father is murdered by the Joker gang so he decides to steal the Batman suit to avenge him. Wayne is reluctant to agree at first, but gets on board and that’s how Terry becomes Batman for the rest of the series. He may not be the genius that Bruce was, but Bruce assists him through a communicator which makes that a non issue. Terry was also already a fighter so we don’t have to watch him act like a total rookie. He handles his tenure as Batman very well.

Terry is the main character and for the most part he is a great lead. While he may not have Bruce’s charisma, he has the passion and hot headed nature that most great anime characters possess. His first episode was a little rough as he was acting out quite a bit, but a tragic attack forced him to mature a lot in that regard. He always sticks up for the weak and keeps his emotions in control when it counts. Terry has no shortage of confidence either and is never afraid to go up against an opponent, even if Batman thinks he should wait. Like Peter Parker, (A character who has a lot of similarities to Terry) Terry has to deal with a lot of romance drama, but it never becomes the main theme of the show or a priority to the point where it would take away from the plot. I was definitely satisfied with having him as the main character.

Bruce Wayne may not be Batman anymore, but he is still rich and retained his intellect. Batman was never feared purely for his amazing hand to hand combat. His genius is what also intimidated opponents. It can be frustrating to see him so old and unable to defeat opponents like Inque, but at least he continues to try so you have to give him points there. That’s why it was cool to see him turn young again in the Ra’s episode since he got to finally fight at peak strength again. The show even managed to give him a stronger sound effect than Terry’s to show the difference in power. Bruce was only a little unlikable in the first episode and you can understand his reasoning for wanting the Batman legacy to die. The last thing he wants is for another ally to bite the big one. Terry wasn’t even formally trained so he would be in a lot of danger. I can get that, but shutting down Terry’s suit while he was being attacked was going a little overboard. Not to mention that sending Terry away without any real help was also pretty bad since he was essentially helping the villains by doing that. Letting Powers steal the company is also something that is hard to picture for such a strong willed individual. I guess you can say that Bruce also regains his old spark while Terry learns how to be Batman. We also can’t forget that he has a real cool guard dog by the name of Ace. I didn’t care for Ace’s episode as it was one of the iffy ones, but he’s definitely a great character. Ace is fearless and never backs away from an enemy. Terry was lucky to have him around quite a few times.

Max is one of Terry’s friends. She has good hand to hand skills and after she finds out his secret, she helps out in the background a lot like Oracle. The heroes are always hesitant to accept her help, but by the end she is one of the gang. She did give us the weakest two part event with the King Cobra villain, but you can’t really blame the character for that. Max was a solid supporting character and I’m sure that her role would have grown more f we had gotten another season since the heroes were working with her more.

Dana is the main heroine of the show. She is around to give Terry a reason to have a daily life, which prevents him from being Batman close to 24/7 like Bruce. Bruce was always in the Batman mindset at any rate I’d say. Dana is pretty reasonable for the most part and there is certainly less drama than some other super hero romances like Mary Jane and Spider-Man. I’m definitely on Dana’s side more than Terry’s for the show since she was always loyal while Terry did cheat on her with someone else. He broke it off fairly quick, but it shows that he went on the rebound fairly quick. It would have been cool to have seen Dana get a crime fighting suit, but I suppose every supporting character doesn’t have to turn out to be a fighter. Dana is smarter than some of the other characters as well since she actually put the pieces together about Terry’s mysterious disappearances.

Barbara Gordon lost a lot of her personality in the transition to the new era and has become another pencil pusher with no real idea of what goes on in the field. The worst part is that she knows who Batman is so she can effectively blackmail the heroes. It is definitely annoying but luckily Batman is always ready for things like this and Barbara got a fairly small role in the show. It’s a shame, but I guess some superheroes lose their likability after they hand the costume in. Powers is really the main villain of the series. There are other recurring villains of course, but Powers is the only one who lasted a full season. He would show up a lot in both major and minor roles. Powers even got special abilities of his own that made him a real threat. The radiation that he emits would allow him to beat many foes despite a difference in power. Sure, he would lose to a really strong foe, but he would give them cancer so it would essentially be a draw. He was a good villain to have since having someone who’s not one and done is always a good thing.
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Inque was another villain who shows up a few times and I thought that she was definitely better than most of the others. Her powers make her a really powerful threat to Batman. It’s hard to capture her or to even land any damage because of how she can almost become liquid. Electricity is her only weakness and even then you have to be careful how you handle her. Forcing Batman to swallow her was definitely one of the most traumatic moments of the series I’d say since it looked quite painful. Mr Freeze is one of the few old villains who shows up in Beyond. His fate is rather tragic here as he was a head for many years and once he finally gets his body back, he is promptly betrayed. He really wanted to turn over a new leaf and become a good person, but it wasn’t to be. The betrayal made him go off the edge once more and then he lost his motivation to go on. He was easily one of the best “villains” here and it’s too bad that he couldn’t have a happy ending.

Shriek had a cool design. I figured that was worth giving him a quick write up here. He’s basically a generic villain otherwise. There’s not much to him otherwise. Kobra is a fairly annoying villain who took over the big villain organization at a young age. He’s just that much of a prodigy I suppose, but he went from being a fairly decent rival/classmate to being a generic villain. Now, Ra’s is a more interesting opponent. Granted, his method of kidnapping Bruce Wayne and going about his plan was rather off. He could have planned things out a bit better and then maybe his plan would have been successful. It was still neat to see how he had survived all of these years though. He certainly was a very cunning opponent for the dark knight.

The Royal Flush Gang went after Batman a few times. This show’s Ten got the biggest role out of all the members. They made for good opponents because while they were weak individually, they were a threat as a group. Defeating Batman with sheer numbers was always their plan, even if it wasn’t always an effective one. I like the designs and the concept is fun too. They’re just rich people with a bunch of time on their hands so why not become thieves right?

Finally, we also had the Justice League show up. Their members may not be as impressive as the ones you’re used too, but they can still deal some damage. Superman is still around and while his powers have lessened over the years, he’s still quite powerful. He’s as smart and dependable as always even if his will power isn’t quite as good as it should be. I do like his Justice Lords design, but I do have to wonder why he would ever don that costume. It certainly makes you wonder. Aquagirl’s probably the only super nice member of the group and she does her best to help Batman fit in with the others. She doesn’t seem to be all that powerful when it comes to combat though. Green Lantern comes off as rather annoying and is easily my least favorite GL. He doesn’t appear to have a great imagination and his voice just got on my nerves. It’s easy to see how he died in Justice League. Warhawk is basically a male version of Hawkgirl. He’s loud and talks a good game, but he’s not all that strong. The design was good though and at least he did have enough strategic awareness to come up with a plan when things started to get out of control. I’d say that this already makes him a better character than Hawkgirl for me. Big Barda’s another tough member who doesn’t like Batman. It should come as no surprise that Batman was eager to get away from the team as soon as possible. Lets face it, there was no reason for him to stay somewhere where he’s not wanted.

Lets take a look at some of the episodes of Batman Beyond. Naturally, the opening two parter was a lot of fun. It got a high budget and started the whole series off. It was very fast paced and I was satisfied with the origin. It’s sad that gangs can break in and out so easily in Gotham, but the city has always been like that so it’s not too surprising. The place has always been corrupt and that’s why Batman is always needed. A Gotham without any crime fighters is a very scary place indeed.

There was an episode with a homage to the Fantastic Four as an experiment went wrong (Don’t they always?) and a group of individuals got super powers. It was nice to see how the FF would fare in a DC world and needless to say, it goes as you’d expect. They can’t really handle Batman, but it made for some nice battle scenes. Another good episode was Inque’s debut. As mentioned, she’s an interesting villain and a very deadly one. Batman really had to think fast in order to keep up with her. Since she also ends up finding the Batcave, the heroes have to think about making the place even more secure. Not that it worked as Return of the Joker showed us…

The Mr. Freeze episode is golden. His fight with Powers was a lot of fun. Now, I think Powers should definitely have the edge here and he was winning, but it was good to see Mr. Freeze put up a fight. Powers’ brief fight with Batman was also good. The episode just had a lot of action throughout and the animation was stellar. It’s the kind of episode that you could even watch directly after the first Batman series since it’s a sequel in part to the original. It’s a tragic episode, but an enjoyable one.

Another episode saw the debut of Curare, a skilled assassin. I forgot if the show explicitly said that she was from the League of Assassins, but if not, then an equivalent organization anyway. Her skills were certainly very good and as she has never failed an assignment before, Batman really had to be careful here. By the end she has to watch her back as well since the League is after her, but given her track record, she should be able to hold her own right? Well, that’s exactly what happens as she appears in another episode and we find out that she simply got rid of the organization. That’s why you probably shouldn’t try to destroy your best agent on a whim like that. Both episodes were great and some of the best in the series.

Lost Soul was a pretty interesting episode as someone takes over the Batman suit so Terry must used his hand to hand skills without backup for a change. It’s a fun change of pace since we don’t get to see Terry do a lot of formal sleuthing. He does check things out in his alter ego, but seeing him stick to the shadows is rare. Back to a more conventional episode, Terry is challenged by The Stalker. The Stalker wants to destroy Batman to prove that he can hunt anyone. Unfortunately, he’s bitten off more than he can chew and starts to suffer delusions by the end. Batman completely broke him. The Stalker made for a good enemy though. Babel was another fun episode as Shriek eliminates language. Nobody can understand each other now so that makes Batman’s job a lot harder. He’s got to find Shriek without Bruce’s help. It’s tough, but Terry never gives up so he’s got this.

Another solid episode is when Spellbinder frames Batman for murder. Barbara Gordan is very quick to jump on this so Batman must dodge the official lines and find a way to win. I believe that Mad Stan was also in this episode. I forgot to mention him earlier, but he’s easily one of the best villains in the entire series. I’m being serious here folks, Mad Stan is just amazing. He’s a conspiracy guy who is always yelling and talking a good game. Tell me with a straight face that he doesn’t sound amazing. It’s just not possible. He’s easily one of the funniest figures in the show.

Sneak Peek is a good episode where a reporter learns how to go intangible. Unfortunately, this slowly corrupts him since the powers were too much and he ultimately meets a sad fate. Batman got lucky here since he was completely out of his league by the end. Seriously, there was basically nothing that he could do against this guy since no attack would work. It’s why nobody likes dealing with intangible foes. Repeller had a villain who couldn’t be touched. He had a barrier around him at all times. This guy was also crazy strong and Terry needed some luck to take him out. It’s always been a fun concept and the original X-Men comics had a villain named Unus with the same ability. It’s not used too often though because of how overly powerful it is. Finally, Where’s Terry is another good episode as we see Max and Bruce be the main characters instead of Batman for a change. It plays out like a mystery as they follow a lot of clues to see where Batman is. The episode is a little embarrassing for Terry, but you can’t win em all right?

The show’s animation holds up very well to this day. The futuristic look ensures that it looks about as good as Justice League despite airing sooner. The colors are very good and everything is sleek. Batman’s suit is better than a lot of the redesigns that you see nowadays and is still one of Batman’s best costumes. It may be the best besides the classic DCAU one. (Yes, Batman had 2, so I’m talking about the Justice League one) Likewise, the soundtrack is excellent and one of the best that you will hear in a show. Certainly the best in western animation. It’s just hard to get better than this since every theme is very fast paced and techno. It fits the future environment very well. It also goes without saying that the writing is very solid in this show. It’s the DCAU so you’ve probably come to expect this by now, but it’s still a nice credit to its resume. Nowadays, shows would do a lot to grab writing as solid as this.
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Overall, Batman Beyond is a great show. It did a good job of showing what it would be like to be Batman in a future DC universe. It was dark toned throughout, but it was usually not dark for the sake of it and never got super violent or anything like that. There may have been one or two episodes that went a little too far with that, but they were few and far between. The average episode was very solid and this is a series that I recommend to all action fans and especially to DC fans. It’s the next generation of Batman, how can you afford to miss it? Even if you don’t ultimately end up finding Batman Beyond to be more likable than the original, you should end up being a fan by the end. To be fair, Bruce Wayne is still the definitive Batman for me as well, but I actually like Terry more than all of the Robins in the DCAU. He was just written really well.

Overall 8/10

Justice League Review


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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

Overall 9/10

Justice League Starcrossed Review


Justice League Starcrossed is a film that I’ve seen countless times in the past. It’s a classic that has withstood the test of time and still proves to be one of the best western films of all time. It makes sense as this film ended the Justice League (pre Unlimited) series and that was the greatest American cartoon of all time. It’s about time that I give this title a proper review.

Hawkgirl’s people arrive on Earth and let its inhabitants know that the Gordanians are planning to attack Earth so the Thanagarians (Hawkgirl’s people) will protect them. The Justice League agree to this, but Batman never trusts someone without having a plan in motion. He quickly figures out that this is all just a ruse, but is unable to help the Justice League escape. They are all kidnapped and upon breaking free they must figure out a way to retake their planet. The governments have been taken down and Earth is virtually defenseless. Not to mention that Hawkgirl is a traitor and can no longer be trusted. Things will have certainly changed when this is all over.

It’s a great plot and the film never breaks stride with its quick pacing. I’d also like to point out that the opening credits were very well done. It was essentially the main theme of the show and in the background you got to see a quick recap of the show for new viewers who could be tuning in. Of course, this is the Justice League so there’s no need for a very detailed recap. Everyone knows who the main characters are after all.

The film continues to start off well as the Justice League quickly try to stop the incoming alien threat before the negotiations begin. The first epic scene of the film is definitely when the Thanagarians betray the League so then the first fight occurs. Obviously, I’m going to call for a good amount of plot hax as the heroes should have easily crushed these aliens. I don’t care how much prep time they had, it wouldn’t be enough to take out this powerhouse group of heroes. Don’t even get me started on Wonder Woman losing while on the Watchtower!

That’s to be expected though so by and large I’ll let it slide. Having a depowered Superman for part of the film did help the drama angle since he couldn’t just fly in and wreck everyone. His fight against one of the Thanagarian soldiers was definitely solid. Once he was back to full power for the climax, I figured that the villains were definitely toast. Superman and the others really laid waste to the army with ease. If anything, Hro Talak is lucky that Superman had to go save Batman since he would have been crushed otherwise. At least against Green Lantern he was still able to stand in the end. Few can hope for much more than that after fighting the Man of Steel.

The Justice League had to go undercover for a little while so it was nice to see Clark Kent back in action. It’s times like these where having an established alter ego is so useful. Batman and Superman would pass the Thanagarian security checks. Green Lantern and Wonder Woman would have a tougher time if they don’t have some kind of ID. I feel like the Flash is the best off in this case though. With his speed, he can be in the next country the instant that someone spots him. The effects of the gravity wore off rather quickly after all. If anything, he could have ran everyone back to Batman’s place, but I suppose that this is more discreet.

As mentioned, Hawkgirl’s betrayal is one of the pivotal parts of the film. The League takes a vote on whether to allow her back in or not and my vote would certainly be on the nay side. Hawkgirl had a chance to be one of the Justice League heroes and blew it. Now she must deal with the consequences for that. It’s one thing to be confused and not take sides in the fight during the beginning (Which is still murky) but Hawkgirl’s been fighting alongside the League for a very long time. She knows that they are not villains and has no reason to doubt them. When the Thanagarians explain that the League is not being cooperative, Hawkgirl should have immediately helped the League. With or without her, they should have won the initial skirmish, but siding with the Thanagarians was the part that sealed the deal on Hawkgirl’s status as a traitor. That was when she crossed the line.

On a side note, I don’t like how she was able to find the Batcave. That’s a little too much hype. Sure, she’s a spy, but this is Batman that we’re talking about. You can’t find his base so easily. Hawkgirl may have tried to help in the end, but that’s what we call “Too little Too Late” It’s one of the main reasons why Hawkgirl is my least favorite member of the core Justice League. Still way better than Green Gullible Arrow though. I was never able to root for her again after this.

I’d also like to note that I was thrilled by the fact that the Justice League was able to get free without Hawkgirl’s help. It would have been a little insulting if they had needed her to break free and instead it was Wonder Woman who was able to initiate the escape. It’s also in character since Wonder Woman is a warrior born and raised. The next best candidate would have been Batman and he’s always pulling off things like this so I’m fine with the switch. Notice that Wonder Woman freed Batman first. The scene where the Justice League broke out was one of the best parts of the film. It was a great fight scene and definitely the moment where the League began to get the upper hand.

Back to Wonder Woman, her role here was really good and she actually outshone most of the League. In one scene, the Thanagarians are picking on some humans and Wonder Woman decides to step in. Similar to the time travelling adventure in Unlimited where she broke someone out of jail. Being impulsive is always a good trait for a hero and you’ve always got a duty to protect people even when it’s tricky. Batman is usually willing to let the villains have their way for a little while before stepping in so that he can win in the end, but that’s not Wonder Woman’s plan of action. Of course, it helps when you have god-like abilities. She’s certainly the MVP here.

Of course, this is the Justice League. They all look really good in the film with the exception of Hawkgirl. Green Lantern may have been suckered, but he does a good job of getting past that and helping to save the world. I really don’t think that his Power Ring can be sliced in half like how it was in the film though. Power Rings don’t break, no matter what kind of magic disruptor hits them. It doesn’t even run on magic after all. Flash’s role is a little smaller than some of the others, but he’s a solid hero as always. When he actually lets loose with his speed, he’s able to take down a lot of the fighters at once.

Martian Manhunter actually looks a little bad as well when you consider that he never told anyone how Hawkgirl’s mind was impervious to telepathy. A little sketchy eh, but trusting in your comrades is not necessarily a bad thing. He also went all out against the general and nearly broke him as he figured out how to use the controls. Running straight into a laser was a little iffy and he didn’t do as well as the other League members, but he did fine. Batman is Batman. As always he came up with the plan of action and even provided the safe hideaway for the heroes. Without Batman, the heroes would not have known about the Thanagarian’s true purpose for a little longer. (Again, it makes Hawkgirl look uncharacteristically naive not to realize what was happening though. I just can’t buy the explanation that she thought she was in the right)

Superman was sadly taken out of the first fight right away, but he bounced back and showed the Thanagarians why they call him Superman. He could have probably taken out the whole army on his own if necessary. This is still the greatest portrayal of Superman and seeing him in the DCAU universe is always great. Of course, his big character arc would soon start in Unlimited so the character won’t be going anywhere. Hro Talak’s a fine main villain I suppose. I like the character design although I naturally think that he could have been cooler without the romance with Hawkgirl. The film had quite a bit of romance with Hro Talak, John Stewart, and Hawkgirl, but luckily it didn’t take up too much of the film. It was also mostly the drama part of the romance that was in the film as well since tensions split them all the whole time. That’s the best way to handle romance so I’ll give the film some props for that.

Finally, I’ve got to give the government props for trying to fight back. They didn’t look so good and it would have been cool for them to have done some major damage, but they didn’t hesitate and went to back up the Justice League once and for all. It makes you wonder how things changed so much for the Cadmus days. For all we know, it had already started though. Whether the government trusts the Justice League or not, they were the best chance during the Thanagarian Invsion so it makes sense that they would team up. Still, I’ve always liked how the government aides the Justice League and it’s definitely the ideal situation. When an alien invasion comes knocking, then you have the government along with the Justice League. Again, I feel like the government should have been able to put up more of a fight since they’ve been shown to have some really high tech armaments in the past. It’s a mild complaint though and the general did his country proud.

This won’t come as a surprise, but the soundtrack is very good for this film. I believe that it’s the first time that the big opera theme comes into play. It happens in this film during the final fight with Green Lantern and the leader of the Thanagarians and it also played in Justice League Unlimited when Doomsday was kicking Superman’s can. Seeing the main theme is also good and the theme that plays when the Justice League are evading the authorities is classic. I’ve seen this film so many times that I can basically play out any scene in my head and even remember the music. It’s the sign of a true classic.

Naturally, the animation is also quite good as well. Like the show, Starcrossed’s animation has really held up through the years and I still consider it to have some of the best animation in all of somics. It’s definitely hard to top and you can really feel the action scene. Each blow has weight behind it and that’s something that newer films have a hard time of matching at times. Apparently one scene has some recycled footage, but you definitely wouldn’t notice that while watching it. The character designs are all on point as expected.

Overall, Justice League Starcrossed is a superb film and one of DC’s all time best. It loses to Justice League Crisis on Two Earths, but that is probably it. I’d put this at second followed closely by Batman/Superman Public Enemies. This was the perfect way to wrap up the Justice League series and start the Unlimited Saga. I’m sure that everyone was saddened to see the end of an era but it signalled another bright time just about to begin. If you’ve never seen this film before, then I highly recommend that you fix that transgression. All comic book fans should watch this film to see how you handle an alien invasion and why the Justice League shall never be surpassed as the ultimate comic book team. It’ll also get you hyped for the upcoming Batman vs Superman film since that will be a prelude of sorts to Justice League.

Overall 9/10

The Batman Adventures Volume 3 Review

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Time to look at a Batman collection based on the hit DCAU series! This one brings 7 issues so we get a nice assortment of enemies and even Superman gets to show up! That’s what I like to see and it’s always fun to take a look at the good ole days of Batman. The DCAU may be gone, but that doesn’t mean that its legacy has to go along with it right? Also, I rarely actually read Batman comics so it’s even more incentive to read this one.

The first story is basically a brawl between monsters. Man Bat decides to come back into town and Dorian is also paying everyone a visit. (The Werewolf thing from one of the Catwoman episodes) Throw in a random scientist who turns into a monster and things definitely get dicey. It was an all right comic, but I can’t say that it really caught my attention the way that some of the others did. I was never a fan of any of the villains in the story and that certainly makes a difference. Batman’s always hardcore though and he knew how to end the dispute.

We can’t forget about the Two Face comic next! He broke out of jail and decides not to do the same for the Joker. Batman still wants to save Harvey since they used to be friends, but he is certainly long gone now. Batman still takes some risks that he doesn’t need too like getting in front of the gun and daring Two Face to shoot without his coin. That’s definitely quite the risk, but it works and one should never doubt the Batman’s methods. It was a fun story and with Two Face, it’s always personal.

Next up, we saw an Environmental Protector get poisoned so Batman realizes that the only one who can save him is Poison Ivy. The villain has to decide if she wants to help. The guy did play a big role in helping the plants and that’s her goal so it makes sense to provide some assistance, but it’s always fun to make Batman sad as well so it’s a tough choice for her. Not to mention that the assasins who were after the guy are still around as well. Will she make the right call? This was a decent story as well even if the villains were just guys with guns. Sometimes, even a villain can be helpful if you can find a shared goal and some are definitely more devious than others. Remember that Poison Ivy started off as an extremest before really going over the deep end. She’s not the same kind of villain as someone like the Joker.

Two ninja show up one day to take Batman down for the count. Batman’s one of the greatest hand to hand fighters of all time so he certainly has no reason to be afraid of these villains, but why do they want to hurt him? Turns out that it’s about revenge since Batman took one of their clan down back in the animated series. It was all for good reason of course, but they will hear none of it. This is the best story so far and it definitely has the most action from the bunch. An old man also gets a lot of hype here since the ninjas obey him without question. It’s a complete story and definitely one that makes Batman look good.

Next up is the big story and it surpasses the ninja one as the best in the collection. Superman and Lex are in town, which means that things will get dicey for Batman. Lex wants to strike a deal with the government, but so does Bruce Wayne. This means that both of them are making some tough deals. Meanwhile, Maxie Zeus is also back in town and his thunder “abilities” are no joke. Batman and Superman agree to work together, but Superman has to make sure that Batman doesn’t try to profit from this as Bruce Wayne. I feel like that part was a little iffy though since Lex basically is a villain so why shouldn’t Batman accept his government offer? Lex’s was clearly shady and basically illegal so I don’t see what was so unethical about Batman accepting the contract. Still, it does leave room for a little tension between the two characters. I also liked the confrontation between Batman and Lex Luthor of course. It was very well done and unlike the newer Justice League comic where Batman lost the verbal debate, he clearly won it this time. Batman had the upper hand from start to finish and he never let up on the pressure. I expect no less from the Dark Knight!

After that is the weakest comic of the bunch. Scarecrow decides to turn over a new leaf and becomes a teacher. He grows attached to one of his students, but found out that she has begun to hang out with the wrong crowd and decides to teach this guy a lesson. Batman arrives at the scene and takes down both of the villains. There’s no real action here nor are there any likable characters. The Scarecrow isn’t even one of Batman’s more interesting opponents. I want a super powered tussle or a mystery, not a random human who decides to use his power to attack people in more of a normal life situation.

Finally, we have a comic where another Batman shows up. Let’s just say that being Batman isn’t a game so you need to tread lightly when you take over the costume…or it could get deadly. I’ll admit that I don’t remember who the villain in this comic was. I do know that the new Batman underwent a strict training regimin under the real deal and even became a bit of a track and field expert. I feel like there may have been a tragic end here or the guy just forgot about being Batman, but either way it was a decent issue.

The art is fairly solid in this collection. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s not supposed to shatter what I thought was possible for a comic. It’s clear and that’s certainly the important thing here. The art is good and allows you to read through the stories. In the end, we can’t ask for much more than that now can we? With 7 issues included, I’d say that the collection is of a decent length. It shouldn’t take you too long to finish it, but long enough that you won’t feel cheated with the price.

Overall, Batman Adventures had more ups and downs than the Superman one. It wasn’t quite as consistently good, which is why it ultimately gets docked a point. The story with Superman was solid though and we had some other good stories while also having some clunkers. If you’re a Batman fan, you should enjoy this collection. I wonder if the library will be ordering the first two volumes anytime soon. There are definitely a lot of Batman Adventures to read and one day I’ll probably have read them all. Until then, I wonder how long it’ll be until I read an other Batman story. Hopefully not too long since he’s still one of the best comic book characters out there. It’s just that most writers don’t really know how to handle him and go for true grit instead of compelling stories.

Overall 7/10

Superman Adventures Volume 1 Review

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Mail time Mail time…Mail Tiiiiiiime! Anyone remember that classic jingle? Well, it’s time to dip into the DCAU for some fun comics. If there’s any character who can always give you a good time, it’s Superman. These comics are a nice blast from the past and really feel like they could have been Superman episodes from the TV show. Everyone’s in character and that means you can expect the colorful cast to each play their parts with good ole Superman in the center of it all.

This collection brings 10 issues although the back only talks about 5 of them. A little harsh to the half that are left out right? Well, each issue will get its turn in this review. Starting things off in this collection was when Lex Luthor made a fake Superman to frame the real thing. This takes place very early on in the show so Lex Luthor wants to eradicate Superman since he knows nothing about him. Lex can’t control the Man of Steel after all, but Superman’s one step ahead of him the whole time. It was a fun way to start the collection and the fight between the two was definitely great. The android was tough, I’ll give him that. Superman always has the last laugh though and the ending was pretty hardcore since Superman made Lex give him more credit. That’s how you get the villains in line.

Another story had the return of General Zod and Mala. They had been shrunk down to an ant’s size, but thanks to prison guards allowing the cell to be attacked, they escaped and Zod turned into a giant. Can a pea sized Superman stop Zod and force him to turn from his evil ways? I don’t think so, but it would be pretty intense! It was a fairly amusing story, but not quite as action packed as the others. Dan Turpin certainly looked good though and he actually got some good shots in. It’s always good to see the cops and detectives get some props over here.

One of the most interesting comics was about Clark Kent remembering his days as Superman. He once came upon a plot that actually blew up Metropolis. So, his classic pal, Mr. Mxy—-etc decided to rewind time to give Superman a fighting chance. Superman got to follow the cause of the explosion a very long way and it turns out that it all started because a clock exploded, which made a kid throw a curve ball, which, etc, etc. Superman also had to deal with a guy who had a kryptonite rock, which made things very difficult as well. It was fun seeing the chain reaction in motion and Superman had a pretty good line when he told the kids not to play Baseball. Just a fun story through and through.

One of the sadder stories involved Livewire. She realized that the world had grown to be very sexist so she decided to control the media so that whenever a guy would be seen on screen, the station would only play static. The female news anchor loved this, but it was pretty extreme so Superman decided to step in. He got crushed since it’s hard to trap lightning so this comic saw the big team up between him and Lex Luthor. The big fight with Livewire happened and it was pretty epic. I only say that the story is sad because then Livewire is locked up and the people around her start to make sexist comments once again. It was a bit much since Metropolis shouldn’t be quite That bad and I felt like the comic didn’t need to add that in. Superman’s around to keep everyone in check after all right? Still, Livewire is one of Superman’s deadliest foes so their fights are always fun.

Continuing on from that, another story involved a kid who looked up to Lex Luthor and Superman. Little did he know that his father was framed and died because of Lex though and his mom finally breaks the news to him alongside Lois. Visibly shaken and startled, the kid must try to get past this as he attempts to save his sister from a burning building. It was a decent story and it actually tried to make Lex look at least a little good. If nothing else, he never meant for the kid to get hurt and actually wanted to honor his part of the bargain about helping the guy’s son since he would end up staying quiet on the Lexcorp issue. Unfortunately, minions aren’t very good at counting and the karma caught up to Lex. No real fighting in this story though.

Toyman’s back in town and he means business! He starts to sell a lot of Superman action figures in Metropolis and then a lot of thefts occur in the city. Everyone is baffled by what’s happening, but a little girl tells Clark that it is all the action figure’s doing. he decides to follow up on this lead and the kid was right! Can Superman stop Toyman from damaging the Superman brand? It could hurt his marketing sales for years to come if something is not done. Another good story and the plot is definitely classic. The figures are relying on quantity vs quality and they manage to cause some damage, but Superman’s always got the edge. Even if Toyman escaped rather easily.

Many black cats appear on the streets and it turns out that Brainiac has decided to attack Metropolis to get Superman’s orb and find out what it knows. Superman will not stand for this and decides to fight, but the black cats can merge into a Super Fighting Robot. It’s actually a pretty even fight and lasts for most of the issue. That instantly makes this one of the better issues. Lois doesn’t look too good here though as she is easily turned into a captive and as a result, Superman is forced to let Brainiac get to the orb. He can’t really do anything while inside of there, but the memories have now been defiled. Noooooooooo.

Due to an enraged citizen telling her hot dog stand owner that she is Superman’s girlfriend, Metallo decides to kidnap her. This story was another decent one, although you wouldn’t expect the super villain to walk around thinking that just anyone who claims to be related to Superman is on the money right? Either way, it’s a good thing that Superman is always around since he comes through when things are at their diciest. Metallo is usually a good villain although it depends on the continuity, but in this case, he was just a little bland and didn’t actually put up much of a fight, which was a little disappointing.

Finally, we had a comic where Jimmy tried to prove himself as he took pictures of Superman in action. It was probably emotional for his fans to see Jimmy in such duress, but he proved that with a little guts and some pizzazz, he could take pictures with the best of them. There were no super villains this time, but a new gravity gun took away Superman’s ability to fly, which made for a neat tribute to the old comics as Superman had to run everywhere. He even got an epic burn against Lex, although I give Luthor credit for going through the front door. He is certainly courageous.

As for the art in the collection, I’d say that it’s good. Superman’s chin can be a little too big, even for him, but I suppose that the art can’t be perfect right? It’s still pretty smooth and makes for easy reading as you blast through the collection. It’s bright and fits the Superman tone. It’s certainly a far jump above the Teen Titans Go issues, I’ll tell you that much. I also do like how the artists are able to draw the DCAU to the point where you could look at a single pace and say “Ah, that’s from the Superman TAS designs right?”

Overall, This collection does the Superman series justice. I highly recommend this to any Superman fan and certainly to anyone who likes to see a good fight scene. Superman may be the strongest comic book character of all time, but he doesn’t let it go to his head. He never forgets about the smaller folks and comes across as a really nice guy, even if he has to pretend that he’s a little meek as Clark Kent. Unlike most collections, I can’t say that I actually disliked any of the issues. I didn’t like the ending to the Livewire one and the Jimmy comic wasn’t very eventful, but they were all fun and entertaining with their respective plots. Hopefully the library gets more volumes of this series since the Superman Adventures is definitely a keeper.

Overall 8/10