If you’ve been following my reviews on Bureau42, you may know that I enjoy superhero comics, particularly judging by my reviews of DC: The New Frontier and similar works, as well as allusions to superhero comics in other reviews I’ve written. So, I missed Justice League when it first aired on TV. I missed it when it came out on DVD. However, now it’s finally out on Blu-Ray, and I’ve finally seen it. I’m pleased by what I’ve seen. My mind was not blown, but I did enjoy what I saw.
The series does what some of the best Justice League comics runs have done, such as Grant Morrison’s, and kept the league to a tight lineup: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman (II – Diana Prince), The Flash (technically The Flash II as we see Barry Allen’s origin story, but we’re not doing prior incarnations here), Green Lantern (IV – John Stewart), Hawkgirl (I – Shayera Hol) and the Martian Manhunter.
While the series is done by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, unlike their earlier series Batman: the Animated Series and Superman, this series does a bunch of mini-arcs, each two to three episodes long, making each arc essentially mini-movie. This really helps to keep the comic book storyline feel, as most great comic storylines in team series, in my opinion (with a few exceptions) are multi-issue arcs. This approach gives all the members of the team plenty of screen time, and gives them a chance to shine, more or less.
I say more or less because if I have one complaint about this series, it’s that some characters are under-used. Hawkwoman, in particular, doesn’t get an episode focused on her, and often in big fights she ends up getting knocked aside, with heroes like Batman, Wonder Woman or Superman (and occasionally Green Lantern) taking the spotlight. Considering that she’s one of the two characters who never had their own TV series before hand (the other being Green Lantern – The Flash had a live-action TV series), she could really do with getting some additional screen time.
Other than that, the animation is well done – being superior to both of Timm & Dini’s prior animated series. The number of animated frames per second is higher, and movements are generally more fluid. It’s just a great superhero series. If you like superhero comics and don’t have major problems with the more high powered style that DC’s supers comics have, then you’ll like this show.
Yes, I know doing the “if you like this, you’ll like this” stuff in a review is bad form, and cheesy, but it works here because well, there’s Marvel. They’ve got their own animated stuff out on DVD and frankly, some people find it difficult to wrap their minds around some of the DC universe stuff because it’s more super-powered, where as the lower power-level stuff in the Marvel Universe is easier to believe in.