Friday, April 5, 2013

Day Ninety-five - Justice League: Season 1, Episodes 1, 2, and 3, "We go from Bruce Timm's Batman/Superman to THIS?"

To say that the Justice League cartoon started off on shaky legs is a bit of an understatement, I think.

Hot off of the Bruce Timm era of Batman: The Animated Series, which returned the animated DC universe to glory after years of cheese and fluff with the likes of Superfriends and Scooby-Doo teamups, Justice League promised to keep the feel of the late 90's cartoons.

It did this, in part, by retaining Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly as the voice actors for Batman and Superman respectively. That alone guaranteed a return audience as they were fan favs from their respective series.

Unfortunately, the production team wasn't quite sure how to bring DC's top team together without things getting awkward. It tries by lampshading everyone with a pair of tights coming together to back Clark and Bruce up via an off-screen telepathic suggestion by J'onn, the Martian Manhunter, in a similar way to how he reached out to Clark throughout episode 1.

I'd almost believe it, but we never see J'onn make contact with the other Supers we were treated to with brief sequences early in the episode, Wonder Woman and Flash, for their little intro bits. I find this to be very lazy writing on behalf of the team.

There's also the problem of the enemies being too strong in the beginning and too weak at the end. This happens several times in later episodes, but it's never more obvious than here and in the next mini-arc with the Manhunters.

All throughout episodes one and two, we're shown just how indestructible the shapeshifters who destroyed Mars are... even so much that Superman cannot easily deter them. Then, all of the sudden, most of the destruction they've wrought has been reduced to a tiny area around their factories (when it was city-wide just a few minutes previous) and they're vulnerable to just about everything... and this is BEFORE it's revealed that they're SUPER-vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation.

Let me tell you, that's an amount of cheese that even I find hard to swallow.

Graphically, I'm not all that pleased with the subtle stylistic changes they made for both Supes and Bats. The cowl's ears in particular and Clark's sunken cheekbones really annoy.
Eventually, once the series morphed into Justice League Unlimited and started telling smaller, more personal stories instead of grand, multi-episode punch fests, I really started to enjoy it... especially when they went with the minor leaguers like The Question. But we'll get there eventually.

For now, I can't really recommend these episodes for anything other than backfill for JLU... and that's a bit sad. They didn't even have Lois Lane doing the reporting on the invasion! Ugh.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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