Review Shooter: Justice League Season 1
The Timmverse holds a very special place in my heart. I feel like there will never be a run of greater animation than these series of cartoons that started with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992.
Every so often, I have the desire to pull out my various box sets of the series and watch them from the beginning. My most recent urge took me to Justice League (later Unlimited) The most recent of the series.
Whenever I start this series, I always dread going through the first season. Of all 5 seasons, it tends to hold up as the weakest. I was never able to see why until my most recent viewing. While my view of the season as a whole has softened, I am better able to explain myself.
The biggest problem to me is how Superman and Batman are given a backseat during this first season. I realize the thinking is simple, both Superman and Batman had their own, standalone, character-centric, shows that tie into this universe (Batman actually has two), but at the start of the series they are perhaps the most interesting characters. To better flush out the roster, they are really short-changed during this season. Superman’s power set is nerfed (as much as I hate that term) so that the other members of the team are given something to do. Batman is pretty much a side character who has his moments here and there. The most telling example of this is the season finale, in which Batman only has 2 scenes in the entire ordeal. And one of them isn’t even Batman “proper”
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand why it had to be done. You don’t want the big two overshadowing the other 5 characters, but at the same time, you kind of want them front and center for the audience.
However, the first season does a decent job of introducing us to many of the characters. Green Lantern, Flash and Wonder Woman all get several character centric episodes. The Manhunter gets a semi-centric one, though that’s also more of an Etrigan tale. And Hawkgirl really doesn’t get any, but that becomes clear why when we reach the 2nd season.
One thing that I’ve always loved about the show was the relationships between characters and their dynamics. Throughout the first season, we get the Green Lantern/Flash bonding that was extremely common in the comics. We get Green Lantern/Hawkgirl which would eventually become a thing during season 2. We get Hawkgirl/Wonder Woman which is perhaps one of my favorite dynamics during the show. And an odd one is Manhunter/Batman, which mostly comes up during Injustice for All and the Demon episode.
As I said, my views on the season have softened so I really don’t have any major complaints. It just doesn’t live up to the standard and pacing that the rest of the series achieves. It is still worth a watch if you’ve never seen it before or if you just want to revisit!