Last week, I talked about how the CW was doing superhero shows like Arrow and The Flash justice. The shows are so good that even hardcore fans have accepted the major changes the shows have made to the “canon” history of some of the characters. They currently have an upcoming show called Legends of Tomorrow, which will assemble some of their heroes into one team.
While that seems like a big thing, it’s not like we didn’t see that happen on TV. We’ve actually got the biggest DC superheroes team up before with a lot of the lesser known heroes before! Sure, it wasn’t done in live-action but it was still a phenomenal experience for fans of the comics. And that show was Justice League Unlimited!
I myself never really got to experience Justice League Unlimited when it was new and fresh. I’ve heard about it and I knew about it but I didn’t really pay much attention to it. I knew it was sort of a sequel to the previous series, Justice League, but, since I didn’t watch that show either, I had no investment on Justice League Unlimited. I think I was roughly 10 when the show first aired and, at that time, I really didn’t care that much for superheroes; I was more into anime like Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist and Ruroni Kenshin at that time.
So, why am I talking about Justice League Unlimited now, roughly a decade after it ceased airing?
It’s more of pure chance actually. Around a month ago, I had a bout with insomnia. Well, truth be told, I wouldn’t really call it insomnia; I just had some really terrible sleeping patterns at the time. Anyway, I came upon a channel called Toonami and managed to get a glimpse of an old Dragon Ball Z show where Goku defeated Cooler.
While I’ve been weaned of anime for quite a while now, I did feel a wave of pleasant memories of when I did love shows like Dragon Ball Z. So I kept watching the Toonami channel, hoping they’ll show more anime from my younger days. Well, apparently, they don’t have any other anime shows; kinda misleading name for a channel. But they did show a couple of back-to-back episodes of Justice League Unlimited soon after. And those were really impressive!
Maybe I just got lucky but the first two episodes I watched was an episode where Green Arrow and Supergirl team up with faceless conspiracy theorist called The Question. I really liked his design and how, like Green Arrow, didn’t have any superpowers. However, The Question is incredibly intelligent and able to make connections to unseemingly unconnected events. Now, I’ve never heard of The Question but this was a great introduction to the character. I’m not sure how true he was to his comic book self but the episode did make me want to know more about the character!
But the episode that made me a fan was the next one I saw. It primarily focused on one character. It was a character I had no idea existed. That character is Booster Gold. The episode had him assigned to handling evacuation duties and crowd control while the rest of the “heavy hitters” of the Justice League take on the big baddie. It turns out that there is a bigger threat that the Justice League isn’t aware of and it’s up to Booster Gold to save the day! It was a great episode, filled with a lot of jokes, such as Booster Gold being an unknown hero and always being mistaken for Green Lantern (even if his costume is all yellow).
I have watched a lot more episodes on Toonami since then. I find the stories being told in each episode not simple tales, but very complex and deep as some events in a previous episode may become important in a later episode. I also love how they never really focused on the “big” heroes all the time. Justice League Unlimited took their time to shine the spotlight on the non-mainstream heroes, such as the aforementioned Booster Gold and The Question. I actually think that even the most hardcore of comics fans may not have known these heroes until they were featured in Justice League Unlimited!
I do wish Toonami did show more of the early DC Animated Universe cartoons. Or, at the least, the first Justice League series. I would like to catch up on these episodes if I have the time. But not right now. Maybe I should try watching those episodes next year. There are so many things coming up… such as the next Star Wars movie! I’ll try to set my expectation for that film next time!
What are your thoughts on Justice League Unlimited? Let me know in the comments section below!