The Earth is invaded by an alien race and the Earth's lead protector, Superman, is unable to stop the invasion alone. More of Earth's greatest heroes join the fray only to be later defeated as well. Eventually, the heroes join forces to drive off the alien invasion, and they soon realize that together, they stand a better chance in protecting the planet and its citizens. The heroes are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Green Lantern, The Flash, and J'onn J'onzz, together they make up the Justice League. Previous Seasons: Justice League - Season One Justice League - Season Two Justice League Unlimited - Season One
The Justice League narrowly survives the Thanagarian invasion, and as a result of her betrayal to the Justice League, Hawkgirl leaves the group. The Justice League decides to expand their group with far more superheroes than before with intentions on better protecting the Earth, as well as many others who cannot protect themselves. -summary
DC Comics leaves a lot to be desired at times when it comes down to their comic books. They would have the ideas and even the proper writing talent at their disposal to deliver their big stories with knockout potential. Unfortunately, that knockout blow hardly ever comes to pass though, which is something that is still felt in many of their stories up to this very day. Quite the opposite when it comes down to delivering the goods in the animation field. DC, in my eyes, has had the animated department in a smash for a very long time, and it began with Batman: The Animated Series. The greatness had pretty much continued and it reached one of my favorite American animated series ever, Justice League Unlimited.
Justice League Unlimited is the direct sequel to Justice League, as it follows the heavily expanded Justice League roster through a total of 39 episodes, with 26 taking place in this first season. I commend the writers on how they were able to step up to the task and handle all of these characters. DC has always had a problem making many of their lesser known heroes feel important. To my experience, if the story didn't revolve around "The Trinity", otherwise known as Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, then the stories wouldn't be so great, but that is not the case here.
This series was indeed put together to appeal to the serious comic book fan. There is fan service galore with plenty of recognizable faces along with homages to various storylines. One of the stories to reach out and grab me was the adaptation to Alan Moore's For The Man Who Has Everything, which features a very good story starring The Trinity, and the plot follows a very savage fight with the inter-galactic tyrant Mongul, a villain so powerful that Superman is the only one who can stand up to him, as he nearly beats Wonder Woman to death. For the most part, the stories are stand alone, unlike the previous seasons that heavily relied on a multi-story format. However, later on in the series, is a continuous plot line developing when an organization known as Project Cadmus begins to surface. This story is very well put together as it actually relies on prior stories that took place in both Batman and Superman animated series, as well as Justice League. As a fan, I thought it was really cool using the DC Animated Universe as the main pool source.
The Cadmus storyline follows the government supported agency, who is later financially backed by Lex Luthor, who's not only trying to take down the Justice League for good, but is also running for Presidency. The public has become afraid of them for various reasons, with the biggest being that they possess a weapon of mass destruction on their satellite base pointing down on everyone. The episodes aren't only very action packed and heavily draped in suspense, but it's the political commentary going on, that plays on the old " no one should have so much power", even if it is for the greater good.
Although the Cadmus Project is indeed the show stealer which ends on a very high note. There are plenty of stories that can only be described as amazing; such as the episode called The Return, which features the super adaptoid android Amazo, who returns to Earth far more powerful than he left. This is definitely one of the more interesting episodes, because the Justice League didn't beat him in the previous seasons. The time manipulator Chronos makes his appearance in the awesome two parter The Once and Future Thing. Plus Superman faces off with the hulking killer Doomsday.
One thing that I grew to like very early is that the main members of the Justice League, now referred to as the founding members do not hog the spotlight. Many episodes star many different characters in their own stories, plus some even fight against each other such as Black Canary going at it with the Huntress, or even Green Arrow facing off with the Wildcat. This series is like a DC comic book fans dream come true. Now don't take that part the wrong way, there is plenty for the casual fans and newbies but it would help to see the first two seasons before coming in.
There are plenty of things about this series that I really like, even down to the fact the grunts are firing bullets instead of the corny laser blasters. However, the series has its issues here and there. For one thing, not all of the characters are very well developed (which is basically impossible), and not all of the episodes are great. There's nothing I would consider to be bad, but there's at least one I can say that just wasn't for me, for example, the story Kids' Stuff, which features Morgan Le Fey and her very annoying immortal son, but this is just me never being fans of these characters. Still though, what ever little bit annoyances can be found or even very small plot inconsistencies, it's a mismatch on how the good outweighs the bad.
The animation is indeed a high point with some amazing action scenes. The action has many moments of stellar fight choreography, with the highly skilled characters such as Batman, Black Canary, Huntress, and Wonder Woman delivering some of the best action scenes; with the heavy hitters like Superman, Captain Atom, and Captain Marvel holding their own. I really like how the reused cels are practically non existent here, and there are some very good backgrounds that features some good energy blasting moments, plenty of group action, nice building and sky settings, topped off with great camera work. The character designs are great as well, with plenty of effort towards making female characters very sexy. Fans of Black Canary, Huntress, and even Giganta will get their drools worth.
I have to also give props to the voice acting, since I enjoyed so many of the character interactions. Kevin Conroy as Batman and George Newburn as Superman hold down their section, but I sometimes feel other voice actors are completely forgotten. I enjoyed C.C.H. Pounder as Amanda Waller, her voice acting was a perfect fit for the character's appearance and even her attitude in the comic. And no one can take Clancy Brown's place as Lex Luthor. He just has that suave, arrogant, evil bastard attitude down to a science. The music plays a strong role in the action and character interactions making them either more tense or dramatic, and I love the sound effects too, the monster sounding blows to the jaw are just too sick to ignore.
Justice League Unlimited is heavily action focused. There's no end to the full contact fighting and a good deal of violence. Therefore, parents who are cautious of what their younger children watch should be mindful on what they're getting into. But for those who love their no holds barred animated action, and the hardcore comic book fans, well, I'm very close to considering this series my number one favorite. American action oriented animation is rarely this good, plus this first season ends on a very high note. Highly recommended if this sounds like your thing.