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Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Warner Home Video presents
Justice League Unlimited: Season Two (2006)

"My fellow bad guys...I, Lex Luthor, your leader, will speak now about my, Lex Luthor's, plan. My villainous, villainous plan. Question the plan at your peril! Uh, any questions?"
- Flash-as-Lex-Luthor (Clancy Brown)

Review By: Ross Johnson   
Published: March 19, 2007

Stars: Kevin Conroy, Clancy Brown, Michael Rosenbaum, George Newbern
Other Stars: Michael Ironside, Mark Hamill, C.C.H Pounder, Gina Torres, Powers Boothe, Bud Cort
Director: Dos Santos, Joaquam Dos Santos

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild cartoon violence)
Run Time: 05h:01m:00s
Release Date: March 20, 2007
UPC: 012569723566
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A-A-A- A

DVD Review

This Justice League Unlimited set represents not just the conclusion of this show, but of an entire mega-series that began with the now-classic Batman: The Animated Series. That's already more information than a casual viewer needs, since the episodes here are largely self-contained, but as in the best comic book stories there's a lot of fun in watching the show build on what came before, and in following several long-running storylines and character beats to conclusion. Incidentally, try not to be too confused by the packaging. After Season Two of Justice League, the show was rebranded with the suffix "Unlimited." For purposes of DVD release, the producers have decided to market them as two separate, two-season series. That seems a bit awkward to me, but there it is, nevertheless. This set continues the format established following that second year: The League is no longer just an assortment of seven heroes, but instead a rather massive organization, directing super-powered resources globally from its orbiting Watchtower. The slight creepiness inherent in that scenario was explored last season, but now the bad guys have figured out that they, too, need to get organized, if they're to keep up. During the first panel discussion included on the disc, the creators describe how they were surprised to have been renewed after pulling out all the stops for the previous finale. After the dark and involved storyline that came prior, this final arc intentionally goes a bit lighter and plays like a bit of an epilogue. Just for fun, we get a newly-escaped Lex Luthor and other heavy-hitters joining up with "The Legion of Doom," one of several well-placed nods to the Super Friends, including a new secondary base for the League that bears more than a small resemblance to the old-school Hall of Justice (no Wonder Twins, though that's probably for the best). As much as I loved the previous season, this one has some great individual episodes and builds toward a satisfying conclusion.

While a bit lighter on plot, this season is packed with nice character beats. Hawkgirl's already complicated love life gets a new twist with the recurring appearance of a Hawkman. He may be a lost love resurrected, or merely a deranged stalker. Martian survivor J'onn leaves the team to connect with mankind, Wonder Woman comes to terms with her role as ambassador, and Supergirl (a carryover from the Superman animated series) comes into her own during a trip to the future. The Flash, particularly, gets some quality screen time in two of the season's best episodes. Flash and Substance involves a team of second-rate villains taking out their aggressions on a brand-new "Flash Museum", while The Great Brain Robbery is loaded with action but still manages to show off the show's tongue-in-cheek brand of humor. Michael Rosenbaum, the voice of the Flash, also stars as Lex Luthor on Smallville, part of the joke when the two characters switch bodies in this episode. "I have no idea who this is," a suddenly downcast Luthor proclaims after excitedly and dramatically unmasking himself-as-Flash.

Though the season's episodes largely stand alone, the plotting of Luthor's Legion of Doom plays throughout, and builds to a two-part series finale. Alive! involves a full-scale civil war within the villain community, as the comity among the slightly silly assortment of baddies breaks down, while Destroyer reveals that the real threat was never the Legion at all, but an old enemy familiar to fans of the show. The ensuing global war and team-up between heroes and villains provides a nice excuse to pull just about every character ever to have appeared into the last episode. When the smoke clears, the Justice League even gets a curtain call of sorts that this nerd found rather moving. This last season plays as a wrap-up not just to the show, but to an entire animated universe that began with Batman in the early 90s. At least for the moment. Often these cartoon characters were better written and developed (and for that matter, acted) than their live-action counterparts, super-powered or otherwise. Without ever getting overly self-serious, the creators always took the world that they built and its source material seriously, and stayed consistent with their own vision. This is a fun and satisfying wrap-up.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: There's some very minor edge sharpnening present in places, but for the most part the video transfer is very well done. This is a recent show with high cartoon production values, and it shows.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Portugeseyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolbly Digital 2.0 track is clear and full. Considering the power guitar chords that open the show and the action throughout, a 5.1 mix might have been nice, but this presentation does well nonetheless.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Subtitles/Captions in Portugese with remote access
Isolated Music Score with remote access
2 Documentaries
Packaging: Book Gatefold
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The first extra, Cadmus: Exposed, focuses exculsively on last season's major storyline. It's a bit strange that one of the two major extras on the set deals with episodes from a different season, but fans of the series won't complain. Mark Hamill (the voice of the Joker) leads a panel discussion among producers and writers in which they discuss the inception and challenges of the "Cadmus arc." Except for the enthusiastic Hamill, they're all a bit subdued, but clearly have a strong feel for the characters and a sense of direction for the series. A few clips are interspersed, but they're blessedly kept to a minimum.

The second extra (on Disc 2) has a similar format: Justice League Chronicles involves the same panel sitting down to discuss the current season, albeit sans Mark Hamill. For several episodes of the season, the gang discusses origins, motivations, and production concerns. At almost 35 minutes, it's generous and lively. Finally, a music-only track is included for the concluding episode Destroyer with an introduction by Producer Bruce Timm.

Extras Grade: A

 

Final Comments

Very few action cartoons can go head-to-head with Justice League for fun, emotional impact, and animation quality. The special features here are solid, and the transfers are everything you'd expect. While this final season doesn't pack quite the wallop of the one previous, it builds to a satisfying climax.

 


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