JUSTICE LEAGUE: SEASON ONE
Following on the outstanding traditions of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and BATMAN BEYOND, comes the latest and greatest animated superhero series: JUSTICE LEAGUE. JUSTICE LEAGUE succeeds so well because it follows the same guidelines that made these three preceding superhero series truly terrific- by respecting these characters and their mythology and never "dumbing down" the stories or the characters for a perceived younger audience. JUSTICE LEAGUE then ups the ante by adding more legendary superheroes from the DC Universe to the mix, instead of focusing on just a single one. Additionally, the show doesn’t shy away from depicting the heroes of JUSTICE LEAGUE as having different temperaments and occasionally getting on each other’s nerves- just like real people.
The basic premise of JUSTICE LEAGUE initially brings together Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy), Superman (voiced by George Newbern), Wonder Woman (voiced by Susan Eisenberg), Green Lantern (voiced by Phil LaMarr), Hawkgirl (voiced by Maria Canals), The Flash (voiced by Michael Rosenbaum) and The Martian Manhunter (voiced by Carl Lumbly) to stop a deadly threat to the Earth. Recognizing that only through their combined efforts, were they able to save the world, the superheroes form the Justice League as a means of pooling their resources for future emergencies. The episodes throughout season one of JUSTICE LEAGUE are pretty much action packed, plus the stories are intelligently written and offer the kind of complexity that require multiple episodes to complete a single story arc.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: SEASON ONE ($45) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features the following twenty-six episodes: Secret Origins Part 1, Secret Origins Part 2, Secret Origins Part 3, In Blackest Night Part 1, In Blackest Night Part 2, The Enemy Below Part 1, The Enemy Below Part 2, Paradise Lost Part 1, Paradise Lost Part 2, War World Part 1, War World Part 2, The Brave And The Bold Part 1, The Brave And The Bold Part 2, Fury Part 1, Fury Part 2, Legends Part 1, Legends Part 2, Injustice For All Part 1, Injustice For All Part 2, A Knight Of Shadows Part 1, A Knight Of Shadows Part 2, Metamorphosis Part 1, Metamorphosis Part 2, The Savage Time Part 1, The Savage Time Part 2 and The Savage Time Part 3.
Warner Home Video has made JUSTICE LEAGUE: SEASON ONE available on DVD in a full screen format that is representative of the original television production. FYI… JUSTICE LEAGUE was produced at a "widescreen safe" 1.37:1 for its initial season and was shown on Cartoon Network in the 4:3 full screen format, as well as a matted 1.78:1. While the matted widescreen format is the preferred version of the series creators, the series would not be produced in an actual 16:9 enhanced widescreen format until season two, so apparently JUSTICE LEAGUE will not appear in widescreen on DVD, until the next season collection is released. Even in the 4:3 format, the episodes that comprise JUSTICE LEAGUE: SEASON ONE look very good on DVD and are decidedly superior to a typical Cartoon Network presentation. The image is very clean, sharp and quite colorful. Not produced on film, JUSTICE LEAGUE 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 nicely contained.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: SEASON ONE is offered on DVD with Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks, which decode reasonably well to standard surround. These are generally good sounding soundtracks that don’t exceed the limitations of broadcast television. As expected, the forward soundstage is dominant, with the surround channels adding mild effects, along with musical and ambient fill. Dialogue is very clean and completely intelligible. No alternate language tracks have been included on the DVD, although English, French and Spanish subtitles have been provided.
Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a few choice supplements. Running audio commentaries are offered on The Enemy Below Part 2, Legends Part 2 and The Savage Time Part 2, participants include Producers Bruce Timm, James Tucker, Glenn Murakami, Rich Fogel and Director Dan Riba. Three additional programs are also included. Inside Justice League offers a panel discussion with the series creative team, who look back at the formulation of this multi superhero based series. The Look Of The League the creative team discusses the character designs employed for the series. Storyboards: The Blueprint For Justice has the creative team discussing storyboarding process. Closing out the supplements is Justice League: The First Mission, which is a cobbled together Promo Reel designed by the creative team to help get the series green lighted by The Suits.
As I stated above, JUSTICE LEAGUE is another marvelous animated series that follows in the outstanding traditions of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and BATMAN BEYOND. Warner has done a truly fine job with the DVD release of JUSTICE LEAGUE: SEASON ONE, so if you are a fan, this collection is a must have. Highly recommended.
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