Justice League Unlimited: Epilogue

Yeah, well, so I’d say at least half of my DVR entries are cartoons at this point, the majority of which air on the Cartoon Network. This is a direct results of a lack of Yankees games being televised – the time zones and the lack of YES are killing that – along with a lack of new Soprano seasons and the over abundance of reality shows, that I try to avoid like a case of gout.

They’re mostly to blame anyway…

The fact that CN has stepped up their programing over the last few years – right around the same time that the SciFi channel stopped showing cartoons altogether – is something that has caught my attention, too. They keep a run of Dragonball (original, Z, and GT) going and they have a habit of bringing back old shows (like Robotech) from time to time… they also have been pushing the latest [the first?] incarnation of Teen Titans, which has been heavily influenced by proper anime even though it’s fully American.

Then there was the introduction Justice League four seasons ago. *shrug*, I said. I caught the first episode and kept waiting for the Hall of Justice or the Legion of Doom to show up… yes, I know my age is showing. I also wondered if this version was being produced by WB; they were the company that did a kick ass job when they brought back Batman, Superman and Batman Beyond, back in the early-1990’s.

First episode hooked me… and yep, the WB was definitely involved. Superman was a reluctant boyscout type, with a square chin, and Batman was a surly fucker, with same shaped jaw. They added a good ex-Marine Green Lantern, a young Flash, a can’t-be-physically-possible-with-21″-waist bad-assed Wonder Woman (known more as Diana than not), a red haired, green eyed Hawk Girl, and a subdued John Jones (the Martian bounty hunter). Then they started weaving a pretty good storyline into the mix… at some point there was a bunch of tension between GL and HG, as they start… um, dating, I guess you’d call it? They also seemed to have a little bit of a cliff hanger after the first season – the danger of things like this is that cartoons get shit canned all the time. They fully expected a “next” seasons, but they don’t often get it… and it’s always way to late to wrap up the current season – both in time and money – so they just end the season and that’s that.

I sorta expected that here too, but a few months after my DVR stopped picking up new episodes, I heard a promo that there was a new show: Justice League Unlimited. Sure, the original seven were there, but they add just about every known [and unknown] hero that the DC Comics world has ever inked and fling them into the mix. Again, I was skeptical… this many new characters? A couple of week opening shows? No more Shayera? Bah!

Again, I was surprised. They carried over a few of the plot twists from the season before: at some point there’s a rogue version of Superman from an alternate Universe who killed their Lex Luthor. Then they had to work out a way to bring Hawk Girl back, after she was uncovered to be a spy last season – this also mounted some tension since GL had moved on but, in true TV fashion, there was still conflict. They had a couple of time shift episodes where a few League members bump into the Batman from Batman Beyond, an older Static Shock (also a WB cartoon that had cameos from JL already), and the offspring of DL and HG… made for a nice two parter. Then they started mucking with an arc’d story line: something from the second or third episode had repercussion that rippled through the season, ending with a three part gig that ran over the last month. And it was good.

This week’s episode – Epilogue – was the culmination of about thirteen years of animation at WB. No lie: one 30 minute episode that touched upon thirteen years of the Batman/Superman storylines. Most cartoons go out of “trend” within two seasons… kids have got a shorter attention span than the people that watch MTV. And countless cartoons are left unfinished; buzz cut by a dead budget. Meanwhile, WB has quietly performed a grand coup one the genre.

Epilogue starts “65 years from now”. There’s a guy – in his thirties I guess? – that’s breaking into a house. As it turns out it’s an older-than-Batman-Beyond Terry McGinnis and the house is owned by Amanda Waller [government agent in the current JLU series]. As they compare notes and swap stories, the pull a whole lotta shit from thin air. How Waller conspired to imprint the original Bruce Wayne’s DNA on Terry’s, so that the legacy of Batman would continue with Wayne’s genes. She also tried to get Andrea Beaumont [from the 1993 Mask of the Phantasm] to kill off Terry’s parents as a kid, to egg on the “new” Batman. And then there was the young kid that could create illusions from thin air, in a flashback, as Ace [of the Royal Flush Gang]. Ink from Batman Beyond, makes an appearance, along with Dana, the soundwave dude, and I don’t remember who else. They even threw in a reference to Tim Drake, who was the last Robin [from the 2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker].

To prevent an already too-long post from getting longer, I gotta say that this was a nice piece of work. Other animation studios should look to WB as a team that’s doing it right. All of their references tied everything – and I mean everything – together… no holes. No dangling questions. No breaks in the “created universe”… They remember that it’s animation: any thing and everything is and should be possible. Was it necessary? Maybe not, but the whole story was pretty freakin’ awesome.

Fitting tribute to Bob Kane’s creation… the boys have done good.

14 thoughts on “Justice League Unlimited: Epilogue”

  1. I held off reading this until I’d finally watched “Epilogue” from my DVR.

    Yeah. An amazingly ballsy move of tying in bits and pieces of everything from the Bruce Timm-era WB animation. Especially since JLU, as a series, had wrapped up the episode before.

    Cool. Can’t wait for the DVDs …

  2. This has been a great series, from start to finish. My only question is, are there going to be more? It is not a very enocouraging thought, being the last episode of the season is epilogue. I hope they continue doing these shows.

  3. Dude, yes. As an avid JLU fan this episode floored me… and when I saw the Phantasm and then a very-old-looking Andrea I immediately got out my Mask of the Phantasm DVD and watched it. TOTALLY AWESOME. I hope the new JLU season kicks more ass… if Comicon, SD was any indication…

  4. Tears fall from my face when I saw Epilogue.

    It´s Beautiful.

    And all episodes of Waller and Cadmus, are big gift for the public. I want to see more.

  5. Having just spent a weekend w/no JLU, instead finding a 2 part JL re-run, I googled JLU and after some reading see that the 2 part JLU time-travel story, which was great, was the season 3 finale, and after reading the comments about JLU episode ‘Epilogue’, I’m realizing the possibility of no season 4, I’m screaming “wake-up WB and the powers that be!! Keep JLU alive!! some people can’t survive on that ‘squaresponge guy’ and other simular stuff!! Continue with the great stories and artwork that you’ve gotten us hooked on!!! Don’t fizzle out on us now that you’ve given us a taste of just how good a series that you can provide when you want to. Give us series 4 and more!!

  6. Its a really good series every episode is almost perfect. but i wish they put it more on TV i can never catch the episodes on TV. Hope they will make more ITS A GREAT SERIES

  7. You should show more episodes and diana and bruce a littlle more together PLEASE…I am getting adicted to Strong Medicine..help and thats aready going to end to!Everything is going to end (Shows) YOU HAVE TO MAKE MORE EPISODES!!!!Iam going crazy!!JLU Is the best episode I ever saw you can’t stop making them!Please make more!!!!

  8. Why aren’t you showing Justice League Unlimited? Do you know what I have to watch that STUPID STUPID BOBO-BOBOBOBO IT sucks!!! I saved the last eposiode you showed ,which sucks cause i watch it every day and i almost Know The lines and that was a sucky epoisode to leave us hanging WITH.Almost all of my cousins like that show (over 34 cousins) and they are confused because they don’t know where it is showing. my freind says it showas on dish BUT I don’t have dish I have Time waner cable.Listein you got to put the show back on darn it.I need more eposiodes.I won’t stop bugging you till you make more and this isn’t a lie!!!I wan’t to hear that thing on toonami say a new epsidoe of justice league unlimited!!!so Please iam begging you put MORE.WHY did you stop making them.This show is like my life,well not my whole life I just need some action to watch.JLU IS THE BEST SHOW EVER!!!!

  9. Um. You DO realize that this is not Cartoon Network or a site that is anyway involved with the production of JLA, right?

  10. I’m just asking don;t you think that wonderwoman and batman should act like a couple if they are a couple they kissed awhile in starcrossed

  11. I think that’s going to be one of those side plot storylines that they’ll use as filler. Sorta like how John and Shayera were for a while – even after ya know they have at least one kid together… besides, I think it’s better that they DON’T out Batman and Wonder Woman. I mean, Bruce isn’t that gushy and Diana is very strong (and headstrong) – it gives us the impression that there’s stuff going on “off camera”, so to speak.

  12. justice league unlimited was one of the best cartoons on cartoon network. most of the programs on there are so stupid its pathetic. they should have a show featuring the ultimate avengers versus justice league unlimited. doomsday is my favorite supervillian of all, he is the most powerful foe superman has ever had. im also looking forward to the new legion ofsuperheroes cartoon, which im sure will be among the best programs on cartoon network

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