In 1992, cartoon shows began to come out starring characters from DC Comics.
Starting with Batman, what became known as the DC animated universe began its own continuity, with all of their shows connected. Batman would guest star in a multi-episode story arc in Superman: The Animated Series, and the story of Batman would continue in the futuristic Batman Beyond.
The overall continuity and scope of the DC animated universe gave it a high level of integrity because of solid storytelling that was woven together in a cohesive and believable way.
In 2004, after twelve years of producing content that was consistently high in quality, the DC animated universe produced its final and arguably best show yet, and it was named Justice League Unlimited.
Following the prequel series Justice League, Justice League Unlimited follows the seven original team members of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman,Green Lantern, Flash, Hawk Girl, and my personal favorite J’onn J’onzz as they expand their team’s roster after an alien invasion almost cripples the planet.
They enlist the help of almost every superhero a hardcore DC fan could dream up, and a big appeal of the show is getting to see favorite characters who do not get a lot of face time in the comics get to come to life in high quality animation.
While the expansion of the roster is a great appeal for a fan, you do not need to be a comics fan to like the show.
The story line continues throughout almost every show, with a few one and done adventures to remind the viewer of how far and wide the League needs to go to protect the innocent.
Season one’s main plot line is that the United States government is growing uncomfortable with the Justice League. The League lives up in a watch tower that orbits the Earth, and it has a giant laser cannon in case of another invasion. The government does not trust that the Justice League will not attempt a revolution and overthrow the current regime. For safety precautions, the government attempts to engineer super powered teams of their own in case the Justice League decide to take over the country for themselves.
I will not go any further, because I do not want to spoil the first season for anyone who has not seen it and wants to. However, I can say that this storyline does not disappoint, and the viewer is left to question whether the government does truly have a right to fear the world’s mightiest heroes.
The second story line revolves around the villains uniting under Lex Luthor and Gorilla Grodd. The new found organization of the villains leads to a tougher time for the Justice League, as they find that united villains are a lot harder to fight than individual villains.
Season two is less focused than season one, containing many one and done stories, and even the episodes that were part of the greater story were very diverse, containing only a few episodes that were direct continuations of each other. Nevertheless, the season is very strong in quality. Similar to how fun it was to see so many heroes done well in a cartoon, it was a similar experience with the villains in season two.
One thing that needs to made clear about Justice League Unlimited is that this show is not only for DC comics fans or kids who like cartoons. This is a good show by any standard, and can stand in quality among any other show on television.
There are great story lines, good character development is apparent, all the characters have distinct personalities, and the animation is exceptional.
I highly recommend watching Justice League Unlimited, because this was a one of a kind show that balanced good story, continuity, character development, and character design with impressive grace. The show is no longer being made, but it can be seen on DVD, Netflix, and on Saturday Mornings on the CW.