JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED:
As I stated in my reviews of season one and two of JUSTICE LEAGUE, this series follows in the outstanding traditions of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and BATMAN BEYOND and has evolved, unquestionably, into the finest animated superhero series ever produced for television. The basic premise of JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED expands upon the society initially formed by Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy), Superman (voiced by George Newbern), Wonder Woman (voiced by Susan Eisenberg), Green Lantern (voiced by Phil LaMarr), Hawkgirl/Shayera Hol (voiced by Maria Canals), The Flash (voiced by Michael Rosenbaum) and The Martian Manhunter (voiced by Carl Lumbly), who originally combined their abilities to form the Justice League and take on threats that would overwhelm a single superhero.
In its revised incarnation, JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED has now opened the door of its society to all this world’s superheroes (amongst others), thus allowing them to organize and better utilized their resources, as well as giving them the ability to take on even larger threats to the planet. Like the series it evolved from, JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED continues to be action packed, yet features complex and intelligently written stories (for a half hour time slot), which still occasionally require multiple episodes to play out. Shades of an X-FILES type government conspiracy permeate numerous episodes of this first year of JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, as our superheroes find themselves at odds with the shady government agency responsible for a project named Cadmus, whose goal appears to be elimination of the Justice League and the superheroes themselves.
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED: SEASON ONE ($45) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features the following twenty-six episodes: Initiation, For The Man Who Has Everything, Kid Stuff, Hawk And Dove, This Little Piggy, Fearful Symmetry, The Greatest Story Never Told, The Return, Ultimatum, Dark Heart, Wake The Dead, The Once And Future Thing: Weird Western Tales, The Once And Future Thing: Time, Warped, The Cat And The Canary, The Ties That Bind, The Doomsday Sanction, Task Force X, The Balance, Double Date, Clash, Hunter's Moon, Question Authority, Flashpoint, Panic In The Sky, Divided We Fall and Epilogue.
Some of the superheroes making appearances in the twenty-six episodes that comprise JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED: SEASON ONE include Green Arrow (voiced by Kin Shriner), Supergirl (voiced by Nicholle Tom), Aquaman (voiced by Scott Rummell), Dr. Fate (voiced by Oded Fehr), The Question (voiced by Jeffrey Combs), Captain Atom (voiced by Chris Cox), Vixen (voiced by Gina Torres), The Atom (voiced by John C. McGinley), Future Batman (voiced by Will Friedle), Black Canary (voiced by Morena Baccarin) and Huntress (voiced by Amy Acker).
Warner Home Video has made all twenty-two episodes that comprise JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED: SEASON ONE available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays- I know what you’re all thinking "hooray, they finally got it right!" JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED: SEASON ONE looks great on DVD, not only are the presentations superior to a typical Cartoon Network broadcast, but the extra resolution of the 16:9 enhanced format just hits it out of the ballpark. Image quality is excellent for this type of television caliber animation, with everything appearing very clean, super crisp, with fully saturated colors. Not produced on film, JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED is free from the grain and print flaws that were occasionally bothersome on the earlier superhero series produced by Warner’s television animation division. Digital compression artifacts are always well concealed across the set.
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED comes to DVD with Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks, which decode pretty nicely to standard surround. As always, I feel 5.1 would have definitely would have sounded better. As it stands, sound quality is good, although the sound mix scream "made for television!" Not surprisingly, the soundstage is front-loaded. The rear channels add only mild effects, ambient sounds and musical fill. Dialogue is cleanly rendered and totally understandable. French and Spanish language tracks have been included on the DVD, although no subtitles have been provided.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a few nice extra features. And Justice For All is a nine-minute program featuring the creative team who discuss the series evolution and change in direction. Running audio commentaries are offered on This Little Piggy and The Return with members of the production team. Themes Of Justice is an interactive featurette that focuses on the show’s musical content.
As I stated above, JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, and the series it evolved from, represent the finest animated superhero series ever produced for television. This time around, Warner got the video presentation right, which should please fans to no end. If you are an animation or superhero fan, JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED: SEASON ONE is absolutely recommended.
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