Sunday, May 14, 2006

Justice League Unlimited—Destroyer

The upshot: Darkseid is back from the grave and has revenge on his mind with Superman as his target. Darkseid brings the armies of Apokolips to destroy the Earth and all ofEarth's super-powered meet the attack. The end looks bleak but the world's salvation comes from an unexpected hero.

Wow! Talk about going out with a bang. This finale episode wasn’t a sappy retrospective talking about closure—it was a kick ass global battle as the Justice League (just about all of them) and the Legion of Doom team up to save the planet from the really, REALLY bad guy—Darkseid.

The real bad guys in this fight were the executives at Cartoon Network who deliberately parked the show in a ratings ghetto on Saturday night at 10:30 then shed crocodile tears when they declared they had to cancel JLU due to low ratings.

Ironically, this series was never better when it transformed from Justice League, a grown up version of Super Friends, to Justice League Unlimited—an even more grown up, but also sophisticated and sometimes dark drama of super heroes in animated form.

The more in danger of cancellation the writers felt, the better the stories got so it’s no wonder that in the finale they went all in.

Around the world, we see a global battle with Darkseid’s invading para-demons. Wonder Woman had a few good, albeit brief, battle scenes, while we counted appearances by Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E, Fire and Ice, Hawkman, Shining Knight and Vigilante, Hawk and Dove, both Steels (the one from the Detroit JLA and the former Man of Steel), Black Canary and Green Arrow and more. Everyone but Captain Marvel….D’oh!

Meanwhile, Darkseid and Superman went at it mono-y-mono as Batman and Lex Luthor fought Para Demons side-by-side. The battle was impressively paced and the writers packed a lot to half-hour show and Michael Ironside was perfectly cast as Darkseid—menacing but not over the top.

We liked Batman’s intervention during key points of the fight, distracting Darkseid and allowing Superman to catch a breath. The Worlds Finest team indeed. Even better was seeing Superman finally cut loose, but not being able to totally best Darkseid. Leave it to Lex Luthor to save the day.

The biggest and most pleasant surprise was the return of the Martian Manhunter. We didn’t get a lot of back story but we first see him as a middle aged man with a middle-aged woman, presumably his wife, at the Great Wall of China.

It was great to watch Wonder Woman warning off this “civilian” only to see her astonishment as he tosses a para-demon passed her in the air and then he morphed into his jolly green form. Following a quick hug, he tells Diana “I’ve got a lot to tell you”…but we won’t hear about it.

Taking a page from the NYPD Blue series finale, they treat this episode as just one more day—it is the end only for we the viewers. The never-ending battle will continue without us.

So after the day is saved, the villains ask for “a little consideration.” After all, they helped save the world too. A smiling Batman says “Five minute head start.”

As the Leaguers run down the steps in pursuit, the viewers are treated to a curtain call by our favorite leaguers. Wonder Woman gets the last words…. "And the adventure continues…” the big three, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman run into the camera…fade to black.

Thanks for the adventure guys.


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