Mister Pterodactyl
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Or, 'Move along, nothing to see here.'

Cartoon Network’s ‘Justice League’ series was bookended with invasion-from-outer-space stories, the only circumstance in which I could see reinstating a military draft. [This did not occur in the cartoon, but real-life superheroes are considerably less impressive than fictional ones.] JL has now been succeeded by ‘Justice League Unlimited,’ featuring the original team (except Hawkgirl) plus several dozen new members.

Only eight episodes have aired so far (the website lists 13), so maybe it's too early to make judgments, but what the hell. Four of the original members – Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman - are taking up too much screen time. Two of the eight episodes feature them exclusively; only one doesn’t involve any of them. [Flash has been limited to a couple of walk-ons; Martian Manhunter is playing dispatcher.] In the other five, one or more of them lead a group on some adventure or other.

Eleven other characters have had significant speaking parts: Supergirl, Captain Atom, Green Arrow, Hawk, Dove, Zatanna, Steel, the Atom, Booster Gold, Plasticman, and that no-face conspiracy nut (Question? Answer? One of those). Black Canary has shown up twice, but just so Green Arrow can ogle her. Two episodes include large groups, some of whom I can’t identify (thus imperiling my comic-book-geek street cred).

Having that many heroes available means they can tailor teams to match a bad guy. Giant power source on the move in Asia? Have GL bring the energy-absorbing guy with Superman’s baby cousin for backup. Killer robot busting up third-world villages? WW and the passive/aggressive super-fast/super-strong duo got you covered. Legendary sorceress turning people into pigs? Batman knows where to find our own magicians. Nanotech super-android? We got your nanotech right here. The League is like a big Swiss army knife for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. [Everybody see where I’m going with this?] It’s (dare I say it?) the Blogosphere o’ Justice. Something for every situation.

I didn’t start writing this intending to make that point, but then I thought of this, from the days of the LGF/Powerline CBS smackdown, and couldn’t resist.

And doesn’t that seem like a long time ago?

My favorite episode so far is the Booster Gold one; he seems pretty powerful, but he’s also a careless, self-aggrandizing showboat and gets no respect from the League’s leaders, so when this superpowerful giant wizard guy shows up on Earth and the entire league goes to fight him (lots of funny scenes there), BG gets crowd control duty, which consists basically of waving at panicky fleeing civilians. Of course something unexpected happens and BG saves the day, but nobody sees it and he gets no credit.

I’d like to see Batman/Green Arrow or Supergirl/Wonder Woman, but I’d also like to see more of the new characters. Black Canary, Ice, and Fire having a girls’ night out. That robot tornado guy (there’s that street cred again) in a Radio Shack. While I’m at it, how about ‘a day in the life of Martian Manhunter?’ He really doesn’t get enough attention.

Has everybody noticed how much I like to use parentheses and brackets?

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