Justice League (animated series)
Justice League is an animated series about a team of superheroes which ran from 2001 to 2004 on Cartoon Network. It is based on the Justice League and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics.
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Animator Bruce Timm, having successfully adapted both Batman and Superman into animated television programs in the 1990s, took on the challenge of faithfully adapting the Justice League comic book. Ignoring the sidekicks, pets and silliness of the earlier Super Friends show, the line-up of this new JLA adaptation was created with two things in mind: To pay tribute to the original line-up of the Justice League of America while also reflecting racial and cultural diversity. Significantly, the well-known (but much-deprecated) superhero Aquaman was left out of the lineup (although he would be used on the show) in favor of a second female on the team – Hawkgirl – and the African-American Green Lantern John Stewart was used rather than either of the better-known modern-era Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner, even though Rayner had appeared as Green Lantern in the Superman animated series. (In the second season, Rayner is described as a Lantern in training under Stewart's old mentor, explaining his absence. He makes an actual appearance in an episode of Justice League Unlimited.)
In February 2004 Cartoon Network announced a follow-up series, Justice League Unlimited, which premiered on July 31. Justice League Unlimited features a greatly expanded roster of heroes, usually with only a few appearing in any given episode, although there are a few featuring just about the entire roster fighting against one giant enemy.
The seven founding members of the Justice League in the animated series are:
- Superman (Clark Kent, voiced by George Newbern)
- Batman (Bruce Wayne, voiced by Kevin Conroy)
- Wonder Woman (Princess Diana, voiced by Susan Eisenberg)
- The Flash (Wally West, voiced by Michael Rosenbaum)
- Green Lantern (John Stewart, voiced by Phil LaMarr)
- Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz, voiced by Carl Lumbly)
- Hawkgirl (Shayera Hol, voiced by Maria Canals)
There were a total of 52 episodes, along with a two-part Static Shock crossover. Each episode fit into a half-hour block including commercials.
Secret Origins – #1, 2, 3: Astronauts on Mars uncover relics of an alien race. Years later, Batman uncovers a plot to cripple Earth's space monitoring systems. He is joined by Superman who begins to experience strange mental phenomena. This is eventually revealed to be caused by the captive, J'onn J'onzz (also known as Martian Manhunter). Meanwhile, Earth comes under attack from aliens who land and begin converting Earth into a habitat more suitable to their physiology. J'onn explains that these same creatures devastated Mars and that they were defeated at the cost of his species, he being the last of his kind. The human astronauts had been killed and replaced by these aliens. Superman, Batman and The Martian Manhunter, are joined by fellow superheroes Green Lantern (John Stewart), Hawkgirl, The Flash and new-comer Wonder Woman (we have previously seen Wonder Woman defying her mother's wishes and leaving her homeland to join the fight). Eventually, Batman realises that the changes being made to Earth's environment primarily involve blotting out the sun, and uses this to defeat the Aliens. The title of these episodes come from DC Comics's series of comic books that explain the origins of various heroes.
In Blackest Night – #4, 5: Robotic Manhunters arrive on Earth, intent on capturing the Green Lantern. The Justice League try to defend their colleague – none but Superman can match the power of the Manhunters. Then, John shocks the team by stopping the fight and agreeing to be captured by the Manhunters. He is taken to a planet where he is put on trial for the destruction of a neighboring world. John pleads guilty to the charges; the rest of the League are confused as to how he could have done such a thing. It is explained, by an alien witness, that the Green Lantern was pursuing him, to try to bring him to justice. The alien's ship's shields deflected one of Green Lantern's force beams into a faultline on a planet, causing a catastophic reaction that destroyed the entire world – leaving nothing more than an asteroid field. Investigating further, the Justice League uncover a plot by the Manhunters to steal the energy of the Lantern Core, the power source of all Green Lanterns. They also discover that the lead Manhunter had falsified the destruction of the planet in order to implicate John Stewart. The lead Manhunter succeeds in taking the Lantern Core's energy, but John is able to defeat him by channelling the same raw energy through his ring, destroying the Manhunters.
The Enemy Below – #6, 7: A nuclear submarine is attacked in the Atlantic, forcing the League to come face-to-face with Aquaman and his Atlantean army. After agreeing to have the crew rescued, but leaving the sub with all of its weapons on the bottom of the ocean, Aquaman goes to Metropolis to take his problems up with the various governments of the world. Unfortunately the meeting does not go well for the king of the seas, and as he leaves discouraged, he is attacked and must be rushed to the hospital. When the mercenary Deadshot tries to attack Aquaman again, the League steps in, and Aquaman discovers that Lord Orm, his own brother, was behind the attack. He tries to stop Orm from starting an all-out war with the surface world, but he is taken prisoner when his own officers stage a coup. Orm takes Aquaman and his infant son and place them on a cliff over a vein of molten lava and leaves them to die. In order to save his son, Aquaman must make a terrible sacrifice.
War World – #10, 11: Superman and the Martian Manhunter are abducted by extraterrestrial slavers and sold to a planet where the population spends its time watching aliens kill each other in an enormous coliseum. Green Lantern and Hawkgirl set out to rescue them.
The Brave and the Bold – #12, 13: Green Lantern and the Flash uncover a plot by Grodd, a hyperintelligent talking gorilla to destroy Gorilla City, a hidden city of hyperintelligent talking gorillas in Africa. Grodd has the power to control the minds of others with his device and the assistance of his lover, Dr. Sarah Corwin. His mind control abilities become evident when The Flash is brainwashed into stealing radioactive isotope, which are needed to power Grodd's machine. While under Grodd's control, Flash imagines himself as very fat, very skinny, with a gigantic head that eventually explodes, then as a puppet whose strings have been cut, and finally transforming into a gorilla, only to wake up not remembering anything that happened. The only protection against Grodd's mind control is a special headband, given to Flash and Green Lantern by Solavar, Gorilla City's chief of security
Fury – #14, 15: A rogue Amazon (born in the mortal world, raised in Themyscera) sets out to kill all men in the world as punishment for the men who killed her family in a war.
Legends – #16, 17: The Justice League are accidentally transported to a parallel world that is the home of the Justice Guild of America, who are comic book characters in the Justice League's world. (This story is an homage to the cross-world team-ups between the Justice League and the Justice Society of America that used to occur regularly in the comics.)
A Knight of Shadows – #20, 21: The Demon, also known as Etrigan, seeks the assistance of the Justice League in preventing the Philosopher's stone from falling into the hands of his ancient enemy, the sorceress Morgan le Fay.
Metamorphosis – #22, 23: Green Lantern's old friend Rex Mason, now working for a shady industrialist, suffers an "accident" arranged by his jealous employer, and becomes the superhero Metamorpho.
The Savage Time – #24, 25, 26: The Justice League return from a mission in space to find the world altered – a result of supervillain Vandal Savage feeding information to his younger self in the 1940s, allowing him to have taken over the world during World War II. The Justice League travel back in time themselves to stop him, with the assistance of DC Comics' WWII-era heroes (including Easy Company, the Blackhawks, and Steve Trevor).
Twilight – #27, 28: The League is tricked into defending Apokolips,Darkseid's homeworld against the threat of Brainiac. The league meets the New Gods, who are at war with Darkseid, and learn about the treaty.
Only a Dream – #31, 32: Small time crook John Dee dreams of becoming a big-time supervillain. He gets his wish when, in prison, he volunteers for a experimental treatment. Overdosing, he becomes the dream-controlling Doctor Destiny. Destiny takes control of the team in their sleep, with the exception of Batman and J'onn. As Batman tries to track down Dee in the waking world J'onn telepathically enters the nightmares of his team-mates to revive them.
Maid of Honor – #33, 34: Wonder Woman befriends the princess of Kasnia, a jet-setting party girl who is reluctant to end her wild ways in order to get married. Unfortunately her finance is the immortal Vandal Savage, and he already has plans for both the throne and the Justice League.
Hearts and Minds – #35, 36
A Better World – #37, 38: In an alternate world, the Justice League go from being heroes to tyrants. After the death of the Flash, the League launch an assault on the White House, where Superman kills President Lex Luthor. Now known as the Justice Lords, they rule over the planet with a firm iron fist. Bored with their position, the Justice Lords discover that there is an alternate dimension where their counterparts are still good, and the Flash is still alive. They cross over, trapping the League in a force field, and then take their places in a quest to make this Earth like theirs.
Eclipsed – #41, 42: An ancient crystal, with the ability to possess it's bearer, is released and sets out to destroy humanity.
Hereafter – #43, 44: A band of supervillains (all previously seen on Superman: The Animated Series) team up to get revenge on Superman. When they attack Metropolis, Toyman succeeds in hitting Superman with an experimental weapon that seemingly vaporises him. The League attempts to cope with Superman's loss by defending Metropolis as best they can. Eventually, Lobo shows up to replace Superman against the wishes of the rest of the League. In their final battle with the "Superman Revenge Squad", Lobo drives home what a loss Superman was. In part 2, Superman wakes up on a strange planet. He spends years traveling across the surface, the red sun having drained him of his powers. He finally encounters the immortal villain Vandal Savage who reveals that this planet is Earth, but in the far future. Savage explains that one of his attempts at world domination accidentally caused Humanity to become extinct. He now lives alone with an immense feeling of guilt. He and Superman plan to repair a time machine Savage had built in an attempt to undo his earlier actions, but first they must steal back a power source (an artificial yellow sun) from a new species of insect that has appeared on Earth. They succeed and the show ends with Superman returning to the League and leading them to thwart Savage's plan that will destroy humanity.
The Secret Society – #45, 46
Comfort and Joy – #47: After saving two worlds, the members of the Justice League decide to take a break to celebrate the holidays. Flash spends his Christmas Eve with the children of an orphanage, who ask that he find them a special animated toy duck. Unfortunately, the toy is so popular it cannot be found in any store. He manages to find the last one, only to come face-to-face with the Ultra-Humanite. Green Lantern and Hawkgirl show each other how they spend the holidays. Lantern engages in a snowball fight with Hawkgirl. Hawkgirl reciprocates by showing Lantern how she spends the holidays... in an interplanetary barroom brawl. Meanwhile, Superman invites J'onn over to Smallville for Christmas Eve with his adopted parents, and although he is welcomed by the Kents, J'onn still feels like a stranger.
Wild Card – #48, 49: Taking over a TV station in Las Vegas, the Joker announces that he has placed a series of bombs that will destroy the Vegas Strip in thirty minutes if they are not stopped by the Justice League. But with the whole world watching Joker's version of reality television, the League must first get past the Joker's own super-team, the Royal Flush Gang.
Starcrossed – #50, 51, 52: After Earth is attacked by a Gordanian battleship, the Justice League are aided by an army of hawkmen from Hawkgirl's home planet of Thanagar. They discover that Hawkgirl has been providing her people with details about Earth... and about the League. Not only that, but Green Lantern discovers that Hawkgirl, whom he has gotten romantically involved with, is engaged to Hro Talak, the leader of the Thanagarian army. The Thanagarians offer to help Earth defend against the Gordanians, but Batman discovers that this is just a ruse. The Thanagarians have a much more sinister plan for Earth. Meanwhile, Shayera Hol finds herself torn between her allegiance to Thanagar and love for Hro Talak and her love for Earth and for John Stewart. Whom will she betray?
A League of Their Own – #34, 36: When the Watchtower has a sudden power drain, the Justice League are forced to recruit Static to "jump start" their station before it reenters the atmostphere. Unbeknownst to either Static or Gear, the power drain also releases Brainiac from his confinement.
Fallen Hero – #44: Static faces off against his idol, Green Lantern, when he causes chaos all over town.
Justice League: Contains all three parts of "Secret Origins". A mini-DVD version of this disc has also been released.
Justice on Trial: Contains "In Blackest Night" and "The Enemy Below".
Paradise Lost: Contains "Paradise Lost" and "War World".
Challenge of the Super Friends to Justice League: Conatins the previously released "Justice League" (Secret Origins) DVD along with two Super Friends discs in a slip-case.
Starcrossed The Movie: Contains "Starcrossed" in both widescreen and fullscreen. A mini-DVD version of this disc has also been released with only fullscreen.
The Justice League Collection: Contains previous "Secret Origins," "Paradise Lost," and "Justice on Trial" DVDs in a three-pack with a slipcase.
The Brave and the Bold: Contains episodes "The Brave and the Bold" and "Injustice for All".