Justice League

Small Screen Specials, Series and Direct-To-Video
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Justice League

Post by GeorgeC » February 20th, 2005, 9:46 am

The Justice League Unlimited DVD is a joke.

While the selection of episodes isn't bad, fact is that there are only 3 JLU episodes on the DVD, the presentation is poor, and it's of course light on features. The series is also NOT being presented on DVD in widescreen. DVD viewers get only the fullscreen format which is NOT how the producers of the series composed it from Season 2 onward. Viewers are losing 15-20% of the image and getting a re-edited show!

Let me explain something about Justice League and the way its 3 seasons have been done so far... Seasons 1 and 2 of Justice League were simply JUSTICE LEAGUE with 7 main characters. Most of the stories in Seasons 1 and 2 were two-parters with occasional 1-episode stories and at least 2 3-parters through the first two seasons. I should probably say that the first two seasons took the BETTER PART OF 3 YEARS TO AIR IN THE UNITED STATES.

Justice League Unlimited started last August (2004) and the basic changes in format are as follows:
a) de-emphasis on the main 7 characters with expansion of the League to include upwards of 60 different characters -- most of whom have NOT appeared in animation before;
b) a move towards 22-minute episodes although there have been 2-parters;
c) an unfortunate decision by Cartoon Network NOT to re-run episodes during the week and deprive those of us who maybe missed a Saturday night premiere from seeing missed episodes for months!

(Yeah, that last part REALLY sucks... Brilliant programming for one of your HIT shows, CN!)

Another interesting aspect of Justice League is its changing aspect ratios, ie screen heighth-to-width ratio. It's simply maddening. Season 1 of this show was composed in regular old TV format (4:3 or 1.33:1 for anal types) BUT matted to roughly 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio to give it a more "filmic" feel. The fact is that Season 1 was STILL drawn to the 4:3 ratio. Regardless, the episodes of Season 1 premiered in widescreen THEN were repeated in 4:3 format (no black bars top and bottom).

The matting in Season 1 was caught in screen captures of episodes shortly after the series' premiere. The matting was real obvious in the information lost from the top and bottom of images...

Season 2 is where the aspect ratio controversy gets even MORE interesting. In Season 2, the decision was made to compose the series to 16:9 widescreen and forgo drawing to 4:3 ratio. However, the dreaded pan-and-scan process was used to convert to 4:3 ratio. Now, information is being lost from the sides and the episodes really ARE being re-edited for replay!

Season 3 continues the 16:9 composition even though reruns have been abandoned as of at least 2 or 3 months back. For the first months of Justice League Unlimited (Season 3), reruns were in 4:3 format where it was obvious information was lost in the pan-and-scan editing...


****************************************

Right now, the only Justice League DVD I'd get would be the Season 2 finale, "Starcrossed." It's probably got the best episodes of the half-dozen or so Justice League DVDs on the market and one of the best series' story arcs to boot. Extras on the DVD are good with explanations of why certain changes were made to characters and WHY there was an active disinformation campaign for a primary Justice League character.

As for the aspect ratio controversy, Starcrossed wisely chooses to present BOTH the fullscreen (re: hack-job edit) and the CORRECT widescreen version of the Season 2 closer.

It's just a shame that thus far Starcrossed is the only part of Season 2 available on DVD. Season 2 is by far the best Justice League season although Seasons 3 and 4 have had their share of excellent episodes, too. (It's really only Season 1 that I'd characterize as mediocre or downright sh!tty.) It's an even bigger shame that there AREN'T boxsets of Justice League available, period. Ideally, sets for Season 1 and 2 SHOULD be out now, but WB Home Video is sitting the issue out and frustrating many fans of the show.

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Post by Randall » February 20th, 2005, 1:04 pm

I agree with all your points. Too bad that WHV is so far issuing these DVDs as part of the Kids line only, when many of us would appreciate season sets. I don't mind there being single discs out, as there is a market for those too; but it'll be nice if/when the box sets come out.

Starcrossed was great, definitely a high point for the series. The packaging, incidentally, misleadingly reports that the widescreen version has been matted, when it is actually the fullscreen version which was "matted" vertically. Ah, those wizards in the marketing department!

JLU has been uneven so far, although I have only seen a handful of episodes. Two of the three eps on the DVD are my least favorite ones, and it's bizarre that they put so few eps on there (especially with the Titans DVDs having 6 or 7 eps each). Nevertheless, I'll have the disc for its inclusion of the opening episode, which aside from introducing the new show and having tons of cameos, highlights my fave character, Green Arrow.

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Justice League Season 2 upcoming episodes and plot synopses

Post by GeorgeC » March 11th, 2005, 3:32 pm

JLU is turning out to be about as good as Justice League Season 2... Now if only WB Home Video would fast-track DVD releases of the first 2 seasons of the show!

Anyhow, the episode titles and plot synopses for the remaining JLU episodes for this season have been released --

http://wf.toonzone.net/WF/jlu/guides/s02.php

Sounds like a REALLY good arc is progressing here! It's too bad that the regular DC Comics just don't generally get people this excited and interested.

I especially look forward to more with The Question and expect the last 2 episodes of the season to be good.

Note that there are no airdates for many of these shows since CN hasn't seen fit to schedule them yet. They may possibly be airing in Summer or early Fall to fill in low-level activity in the schedule in case kids get sick of the daily reruns of Teen Titans and the upcoming tide of crapola headed to Cartoon Network (Krypto and The Batman headlining crap of the highest magnitude).

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Justice League Unlimited Good stuff!

Post by Randall » June 11th, 2005, 12:57 am

In Canada, we've been getting episodes of JLU earlier than in the US, and I have to tell you the show only gets better and better.

The Cadmus storyline came to a climax in the one I saw tonight... whoa! Wait'll you see Power Girl, two characters named Steel, lots of JSA'ers (including S.T.R.I.P.E. in action), and lots more--- with a great twist ending. Casual viewers may not recognize anyone, but comic geeks should love it. The Question has had lots of great moments recently too. I don't want to spoil the details of the story, but I have to recommend this show to anyone who hasn't tuned in lately... especially if you've ever read DC comics.

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Post by GeorgeC » June 11th, 2005, 2:03 am

Are you sure that's Powergirl and NOT the Supergirl clone, Galatea, introduced in an earlier episode?

I kinda doubt it's Powergirl because Galatea wears an outfit similar to PG's minus the red cape. The other differences from Supergirl is that Galatea is a few years older than Supergirl and wears her hair in a short pagecut.

Again, that's just based on what we've been shown in the US. Cartoon Network just restarted the new season in the US about a week or two ago!

And yes, the show IS getting better all the time.

I just wish Warner Home Video would get its head out of its butt and start releasing previous Justice League seasons, including the god-awful first season, in boxsets soon! They've done a nice job on the first 1990s Batman and Superman and ought to do the same with BOTH Batman Beyond and Justice League.

Why they're cherry-picking episodes in single-disc releases with next to no good extras and CROPPED video is beyond me! Most consumers have clearly voted with their pockets they prefer TV series in BOXED season sets with decent extras.

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Post by GeorgeC » June 11th, 2005, 2:07 am

To me, the real standout character of the season has been The Question. Think of him as a more paranoid version of Batman that's into X-Files-like conspiracies! He's a loon but an absolute kick in the pants to watch. :lol:

The actor doing The Question's voice has been absolutely great. I'm hoping they feature more of him next season.

Green Arrow and Black Canary have also been pretty good and I'm glad to see they're carrying over the characters' chemistry from the comics.

I kind of hope more is done with Green Lantern and that the series' writers address the Hal Jordan question. They can't leave fans dangling with a surprise cameo appearance in an episode and NOT do more with old Hal considering the character just got relaunched in comics with a critically well-received and sales-busting success.

NOW'S THE TIME to do more with Hal AND address some questions of the current JL's Green Lantern (John Stewart) origins.

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Post by Randall » June 11th, 2005, 9:53 am

Yes, I was referring to Galatea--- but she's obviously based on Power Girl, as you mentioned, although she's not referred to by that name. I thought it was a neat use of the character, considering her pre-Crisis origins from the comics.

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Post by GeorgeC » June 12th, 2005, 1:08 am

... And the Cadmus Plot thickens with the introduction of Captain Marvel into the JLU mythos and Lex Luthor's continuing bid to become a legitimate public servant and candidate for President of the United States!

Boy, that was a good episode tonight! Last week's was great, but they really captured how blindsided and thick-headed Superman can be when it comes to Luthor. Superman really let his emotions get the best of him and he just wasn't thinking. I realized what was going on before the fight with Captain Marvel was even 1/5 finished, but man did Superman get played!

This storyarc has finally picked up after a pause last week. It'll be interesting to see how it resolves itself and whether the Justice League and Superman can regain the public trust that they seem to be throwing away by all their missteps.

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Post by GeorgeC » June 20th, 2005, 3:27 am

It's interesting to see how people react to episodes that actually explore character relations while still having action.

The guys that don't read comics or understand that character building IS a part of good stories inevitably hate episodes like this past weekend's where Vixen, Vigilante, and Hawkgirl fought Thanagarian warriors trying to avenge their Empire's collapse on Hawkgirl.

I thought it was an extremely well-written episode and it made me grow to LIKE Vixen quite a bit. Vigilante also grew on me quite a bit.

Be interesting to see how the last few episodes of this season turn out. It's been excellent so far, know-nothing fanboys, excluded...

It's funny that the best stuff going on in superhero adaptations are the episode of Justice League and Teen Titans airing on Cartoon Network and YTV. The live-action stuff, with few exceptions, has just been absolute crap...

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Post by GeorgeC » July 14th, 2005, 8:28 pm

This season of JLU just keeps getting better!

This past weekend, they showed the second to last episode of the Cadmus Arc. I won't spoil the show for people who haven't seen it, but suffice it to say that the writing on this past season of JLU puts to shame 90% of the writing in comics today as well as ANY of the comic-adapted motion pictures that have appeared in the past 12-13 years! It's just so much more cleverly crafted than the crap that appears in monthly comics and movies that it's not funny... But the characterizations feel genuine and there have been more than a few welcome surprises along the way, too!


To RandCanuck:

I don't know if you like The Spirit, but DC just announced a TON of projects with the character at San Diego Comic-Con today! Besides continuing the reprints of the original Spirit comic strips, DC is allowing fellow Canuck and DC: The New Frontier writer/artist Darwyn Cooke to write a NEW monthly Spirit comic starting early next year.

In December, DC is doing the BEST possible project it can to launch The Spirit to a new generation. It's teaming Will Eisner's Spirit with Batman in a new comic! Honestly, THIS MAKES SENSE! It doesn't feel like a forced team-up and if you WANT to expose as many people to The Spirit, you have to team him with a logical top tier character, and Batman makes the MOST SENSE for a team up!

For all the cheapskates like me who can't afford the DC Archives at full price, DC is releasing a trade paperback of the best Spirit stories next year, too. My ultimate comic book project is, however, to buy ALL the Spirit Archives online (33%-40% discounts) to save cash. I LOVE the character and he definitely has a spot in my heart... I pray DC and the writers don't screw this character up, but obviously Will Eisner felt DC was the best home for The Spirit since he made publishing arrangements with DC prior to his passing earlier this year...

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Post by Randall » July 16th, 2005, 7:24 pm

I've seen the end of the JLU season, and agree that it was reeeeally great. I even liked the Batman Beyond-themed wrap-up, though it's sure to be controversial. Next season, you may have heard, should also be epic, as it will include the Legion of Doom, and Legion of Superheroes.

Re: The Spirit--- Yes, I do love the Spirit, having collected all the Archives as well as all the Color Treasuries, the rare daily collections, and the Casebooks. (I draw also, and greatly admire Mr. Eisner. I picked up the Eisner Companion and his last book, The Plot, a couple of weeks ago as a Father's Day gift to myself when we spent the day at a local B&N-type bookstore.) I also read of the ComicCon news about The Spirit, and am absolutely thrilled that they tapped Cooke for the monthly. I would have been extremely wary of a new Spirit series, but they got a great fella to do it. I am only concerned that early reports have indicated the Spirit will be in the DCU, which seems wrong. Nevertheless, I do approve of the Batman team-up one-shot, which sounds actually quite cool.

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Post by GeorgeC » July 16th, 2005, 11:07 pm

So, The Spirit's in the mainstream DCU now?

Different. Very different!

How are they going to explain his appearance? Is his origin still going to be in the 1940s and they'll say he HASN'T AGED because of the potion he was exposed to, or will they revamp his origin (which I hope they DON'T DO) to say he's a recent character?

I'm guessing the former although it could mean changes to the supporting cast. The best bet would be to just base the stories in the past and keep the supporting cast. I'm hoping they don't have too many crossovers with other DC characters UNLESS the crossovers make sense.

My guess is that DC is LICENSING the character of The Spirit from the Will Eisner Estate but that the company DOES NOT outright own the character. This would explain why most of the Eisner books are no longer being published by DC Comics. The licenses for those were temporary and expired not long ago which is why they've been picked up by other companies. I pray that DC keeps the Spirit Archives in print long enough for me to pick up all of them!

(I just read the final Spirit storyline, "Spirit in Space," but hated it... Occasionally, even Will Eisner made DUMB decisions, too!)

I have browsed through The Plot as well, but it wasn't for me. I agree with Eisner's thesis but that's exactly my problem. When I'm not mentally challenged by something I tend to get bored with it and to be honest the only Eisner work that really excites me is The Spirit. The Spirit isn't exactly a superhero or detective but more of a surreal commentary on life. I have very few Spirit stories in my own comics collection but have borrowed the first seven DC Spirit Archives from the metrolibrary system in my town.

I've also heard of the JLU plans next year and it sounds good! They're introducing Hawkman (FINALLY) but it's going to be Carter Hall (the Golden Age original Hawkman) and probably NOT Katar Hol because of developments in the recent JSA/Hawkman comics and the changes they made to the Thanagarians in the JLU series.

The LSH is news to me. I had heard of the Legion of Doom, but not the LSH. There was also another character discussed as a possible JLU inductee but I can't remember who it is...

I can tolerate Terry McGinnis for one more episode of JLU even though I don't care for Batman Beyond. It'll be interesting to see what happens to Bruce Wayne in the future.

What gets me about JLU right now is that in the States Cartoon Network is doing very little, if any, advertising for the new episodes but the show is written better than any of the other new shows on CN right now! It's pathetic that they treat this show so bad even though it's consistently good and gets decent ratings. It's way better than The Batman and 95% of the anime acquisitions CN has made over the past couple of years. There's something going on here that STINKS...



P.S. -- Just got announced at SDCC in the past day that a new Superman animated film is being released straight-to-video towards the end of the year. The style is said to be a cross between the JLU and Superman animated series look.

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Post by GeorgeC » July 16th, 2005, 11:52 pm

Rats.

Just found out from ComicBookResources.com that the new Spirit comic is being based in the present day. Cooke says the Spirit won't have a bionic eye or use a cell phone but that he (Cooke) will incorporate changes from the past 40 years.

I guess this means a new supporting cast and little chance that Commissioner Dolan and his daughter Ellen will be part of the regular supporting cast... :cry:

I'll still follow the first couple of issues to see how it works out, though.

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Post by GeorgeC » July 17th, 2005, 12:41 am

Here's my last post of the night -- I think! :lol:

A direct link to a story on the Legion of Doom's appearance next season on JLU: http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/0507/16/jlu.htm

It has a JPEG of the redesigned LOD headquarters.

Positive confirmation on the Legion of Superheroes guest-shot.

Stargirl gets to talk next season. She did appear in a few episodes this season and was one of the heroes fighting against the Ulti-Men clone army last week.

And yes, the new Hawkman being introduced next year IS the original, Carter Hall. This should make the Hawkgirl/Vixen/John Stewart triangle that much more complicated!

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RUMOR: The END of Justice League Unlimited?

Post by GeorgeC » January 2nd, 2006, 4:43 pm

The show might be wrapping up for good after this season and giving way to a new Legion of Super-Heroes show created by some of the guys who gave us the crap-tacular "The Batman."

More her at http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/ ... /index.htm including some tidbits about a Supergirl episode and a two-part series finale.

Still no word on WHEN new JLU episodes will begin airing on Cartoon Network in the US as of yet... Some sites say January, but CN hasn't offiically scheduled the episodes yet.

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