Justice League: Season 2
What He said:
DC’s most popular superheroes are back for more adventures
against some of the most powerful and well-known villains
from the DC universe. The second season wastes no time in
pitting The League against one of the toughest villains DC has
When it comes to bad guys in DC, Darkseid is one of the
heavy hitters. He is a member of a race called the New Gods.
Whether they are actually “gods” or not is up for debate.
They don’t appear to be the creators of life as we know it or
anything, but they certainly make humanity look like insects
by comparison. They are a race of super-powered beings with a
variety of abilities. They are stronger, more durable, and
can do a whole bunch of other things human beings can only
dream of. They hail from two planets that have quite the
history with one another. Darkseid (voiced perfectly by
Michael Ironside) lives on Apokolips, which is the more
violent of the two. It’s not that New Genesis doesn’t have
any problems, but it’s a paradise compared to Apokolips,
which is a war-like planet. There is always some kind of
conflict going on there and Darkseid is usually at the front
and center of it. He is the ruler of Apokolips and is always
looking to expand his empire. He’s also something of a
madman. He enjoys death and destruction and wishes to mold the
universe in that image.
This is where Superman (George Newbern) comes into play.
Being the power-hungry monster that he is, Darkseid has
attempted to invade Earth in the past and Superman has
clashed with him a few times. This time around is different
though, as Darkseid is coming to The Justice League for help.
He says that another one of Superman’s enemies – Brainiac –
has invaded Apokolips and is threatening to destroy the
planet with his army of drones. Superman’s reaction is rather
uncharacteristic and he refuses to help. The rest of The
League is shocked by his response, but Superman hates Darkseid
that much. He has his reasons, and it dates back to events
from Superman: The Animated Series. The League
convinces Superman that innocent lives could be lost if
Brainiac (Corey Burton) isn’t stopped and he reluctantly
agrees. Well it turns out his instincts were right and
Darkseid betrays them after all. It leads to one of the
better one-on-one fights of the series and was a
hell of a way to kick off the season.
Speaking of Brainiac, he’s no slouch either. He’s not as
strong or durable as Superman or Darkseid, but he is a
Kryptonian (Superman’s home world) robot who has an endless
supply of copies of himself at his disposal. You can destroy
him all you want, there are always more copies of him. He’s
scattered throughout the universe, making him pretty much
immortal. He’s got all kinds of technology at his disposal
So the guys and gals of The Justice League are up against
not only one powerful villain, but two at the same time, and
this is just the first two episodes of the season!
They face many powerful enemies throughout this season. One
of the first they encounter is the android Amazo (voiced by
Robert Picardo). He is a relatively new life form, which
makes him a little naïve. That is perfect as far as Lex
Luthor (Clancy Brown) is concerned. Luthor uses the androids
naiveté – and his ability to mimic other superhero’s powers –
to attack the League. This ability makes him a very tough opponent. He’s one of those
villains that nobody can really handle one-on-one.
Perhaps the most interesting challenge they face
is…themselves. In an alternate universe, when the Flash
(Michael Rosenberg) is killed by Lex Luthor, this forces the
Justice League – who call themselves The Justice Lords in this universe – to
take extreme measures. They pretty much control the planet
and do things the Justice League would never dream of. When
they get to the point where they think they have nothing else
left to fix in their world, they decided to travel to other
worlds and start all over again.
One of the things that made this show really successful was
its more realistic – and frankly adult – approach to
relationships. That continues in the show’s second season.
Take Batman (voiced once again by Kevin Conroy) and Superman
for example. They are definitely on the same side, there’s no
doubt about that. They definitely respect one another too. But
they have a funny relationship. Let me look back at the first
couple of episodes I mentioned in the beginning of my review.
When Darkseid asks The Justice League for help, Superman
tells him to go pound sand. Batman – in a way only Batman can
– tells Superman to man up. Superman could literally kill
Batman in seconds. If he punched Batman in the face, Batman’s
skull would cave in. But Batman says what has to be said for
the sake of the greater good. He could use a little more
tact, but that’s another issue.
Another relationship that continues to be explored is the
potential romantic relationship between Hawgirl (Maria
Canals) and the Green Lantern (Phil Lamarr). While on a
mission with his old mentor, Hawgirl grows very jealous when
she realizes John’s she was more than a teacher, she was a
former girlfriend. The tension between the two continues in
the final arc of the season when Hawkgirl’s people – the
Thanagarians – show up and aren’t forthcoming about their
motives coming to Earth. Just when John was starting to warm
up to Hawgirl, he finds out she was a spy for her people, and
engaged to another man.
One of my favorite storylines of the season is the two
episode arc that involves Superman losing his powers. It
forces the character into a situation he’s never faced
before. He has to adapt and partner with an unlikely ally.
Superman is a character who relies on his strength and
invulnerability. He’s not a trained fighter and can rely on
brute strength to get by. But when confronted with a
situation when he’s not able to do that, it really forces him
to adjust. I thought it was a great way to add a little depth
to the character. It’s one of my favorite storylines of the
Speaking of depth, they really focus in on Hawkgirl in the
episode where she teams up with former villain – and
misguided soul – Solomon Grundy (Mark Hamill). Long story
short, Grundy was asked to help out a few lesswe known heroes
fend off an ancient evil (think of something out of an H.P.
Lovecraft story). Hawkgirl and Grundy (voiced by Mark
Hamill) form an unlikely friendship and the episodes explore
some really serious themes. Religion, death, and trust are
amongst the issues explored in this storyline. It’s pretty
serious stuff, especially when you consider it’s a cartoon. I
really enjoyed this story arc as well. My only complaint is
that I’m not crazy about creator Bruce Timm’s animation style
sometimes. It works great for human characters. His minimalist
approach really works for people, but monsters is where it
falls short. There are or two I thought were kind of cool.
They looked like something out of an old 50s monster movie,
but in this particular set of episodes, they looked kind of
lame to me.
Another episode that focuses on relationships is the only
stand-alone episode of the entire season. It’s a Christmas
episodes and Superman/Clark Kent invites The Martian
Manhunter (Carl Lumby) back to his parents farm to celebrate
the holiday. Both Superman and Jonn (another name the Martian
goes by) are aliens, but Superman has adapted to Earth much
better. Jonn is still an outside, so Superman does what he
can to make him feel at home. Jonn is very awkward and
doesn’t connect with humanity either, so Superman wants to
help him with that. He also doesn’t want him being alone on
the holidays. Superman’s a nice guy like that.
The Batman and Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg) relationship
is also explored more again this season. I love this
potential relationship. For starters, it’s a complete role
reversal with her being the much stronger of the two. Not to
mention, it’s rather funny. You can tell he would like to
explore the option, but he's also completely uncomfortable
with the whole thing.
Overall, relationships are still a big theme throughout
the season. On a more simple level, it’s the relationships
between the members of The Justice League. On a more
complicated level, it delves into the issues society would
face if there was a group of super humans living in the real
world. It’s not as simple as people think. Civilians fear the
super humans, even if they are heroes. The government is
terrified of them. They have no idea how they would deal with
them if the heroes ever decided to turn on humanity – like
they did in The Justice Lords episodes. You’re talking about
people who could easily rule humanity if they so desired.
That’s kind of frightening. Stuff like that is what makes
this one of the better cartoons I have ever seen.
Rating: Thumbs up.
This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on
October 12, 2013.