– by Daryll Benjamin –
As I write this we are on the eve of the Justice League movie hitting theaters all around the world. I’m going to celebrate the only way that I know how: a full blown Justice League/JL Unlimited marathon. To commemorate this, I got to thinking: what are my favorite episodes from this 5 year run? I managed to shrink this down to 15 episodes but, “phew!”, I thought my Dark Matter list was hard?!?!?!? This one just about killed my brain!
Hearts and Minds (Season 1 Episodes 9 & 10) – Despero. Green Lantern Corps. First inklings of the John Stewart – HawkGirl romance that we all went crazy over.
Ultimatum (Season 3 Episode 9) – A new team of heroes has been making waves but all isn’t what it seems. Folks who loved the SuperFriends, loved the secret callbacks all along this one.
Dead Reckoning (Season 5 Episode 6) – One of the best “friendships” in comics to me is Batman & Deadman. Seeing it for the “first time meeting” here was a hoot.
A League of Their Own (Unofficial two-parter between Season 1 &2) – A pair of episodes that connected the Static Shock universe to the Justice League as the heroes took on Brainiac.
Kid Stuff (Season 3 Episode 3) Morgaine Le Fay’s magic turns the Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman & Green Lantern) into kids to stop her son that has gone rogue. A funny episode that got seriously deep. The ending of this one was dark…o so dark… and speaking of dark…
Injustice For All (Season 1 Episodes 18 & 19) You just knew with Superman heading up a team of the best and brightest of Earth’s Heroes, that Lex Luthor would eventually counter. Thus the Injustice League is born and maybe one of the greatest Batman scenes EVER takes place here…to delight & pain of Cheetah.
Ties That Bind (Season 4 Episode 2) Mister Miracle, Big Barda & Flash go to Apokolips on a special rescue mission. Proof that this show made all of its heroes great. And that its dialogue was second to none.
Now My Main Event!
15) Alive/Destroyer (Season 5 Episodes 12 & 13) The end of the series. The season 5 arc had Luthor searching for signs of Brainiac to restore his lost “Godhood”. He finally has achieved that goal and now the whole universe is in danger. So many geek out moments in this one that it kind of softened the blow that this was the end.
14) Double Date (Season 4 Episode 6) Green Arrow and Black Canary. Huntress and The Question. 2 of the power couples of this series clash as Huntress’ lust for revenge sets them on a collision course. Gail Simone wrote the heck out of this one!
13) The Greatest Story Never Told (Season 3 Episode 7) Spotlight on Booster Gold as the League is tied up fighting Mordru, Booster has the duty of clearing out onlookers and has to save the world from black hole implosion. Wait. What? Yep…
12) Dark Heart (Season 3 Episode 10) A techno-organism crashes in the desert and starts eating/transforming everything in its path. This one got weird and scary in a hurry but what else to expect from an episode penned by Warren Ellis?
11) Epilogue (Season 4 Episode 13) Batman-centric episode as a haunted Terry McGuinness confronts Amanda Waller as this one solidly connects the Batman Beyond universe to this one. Originally was planned as the “end” of this animated universe
10) Tabula Rasa (Season 2 Episodes 3 & 4) Speaking of Luthor, these episodes find him putting pressure on a scientist in his employ, Professor Ivo, for results and what he comes up with, the android Amazo, would have lasting effects on the series. Never saw the endearing factor of freaking Amazo coming…
9) Far From Home (Season 5 Episode 10) Supergirl’s Birthday! Legion of Super-Heroes! Fatal Five! The 30th Century! There’s no episode on this list that says “Daryll” more than this one… and it’s NINTH on my list! If nothing else describes the quality of this show….
8) Grudge Match (Season 5 Episode 9) Roulette’s Meta-Brawl fight club is hemorrhaging money. It needs fresh blood. Luthor’s solution: the ladies of the Justice League. No. You did not just misread that. Big time video game fighting came to life here….
7) Task Force X (Season 4 Episode 4) Amanda Waller recruits some villains for a suicide mission to retrieve something from the Watchtower…right under the Justice League’s noses! Part of why I was hard on Suicide Squad was this episode. Quality!
6) Divided We Fall (Season 4 Episode 12) A whole year of machinations gets paid off as Lex/Brainiac takes on the Justice League. And once again, an ending that had me on the verge of tears while cementing Wally West as MY Flash…
5) The Great Brain Robbery (Season 5 Episode 8) An accident switches the minds of Lex Luthor and Wally West. SO Lex has super speed in the Watchtower and Wally is trapped in the lair of The Society. Hilarity ensues…
4) This Little Piggy (Season 3 Episode 5) Batman enlists Zatanna’s aid to return Wonder Woman back to normal after she’s been transformed into a pig. I cannot even relate the price Batman has to pay for this. EVERY BAT FAN knows this episode from one little song: “Am I Blue?”
3) Patriot Act (Season 5 Episode 7) It is Superman Day in Metropolis but all the big hitters are off in another galaxy saving planets. So Mister Terrific sends some other heroes in place of the Big 7. Too Bad this is the time General Eiling turns himself into The Shaggy Man to attack The League. So many allusions and comic book shoutouts in this to count as my love for the WWII DC heroes got major play…
2) Question Authority (Season 4 Episode 9) The Question is the ultimate conspiracy nut/believer and he knows that what has been happening to the League is one only HE can solve…whether the League wants him to or not! Intense storytelling that led to a FANTASTIC run of episodes to end the season. That cemented this season arc as my all-time favorite of any animated show…. but this is number two because….
1) Clash (Season 4 Episode 7) Superman is one of my favorites. Captain Marvel is another of my favorites. I may be one with a stained soul but I always have enjoyed stories about these ultimate good guys. What are their differences? And how does outside forces get them to fight one another? Personal Bias be damned! 8 year old me continues to be all in every time this episode is shown. JM DeMatteis and Dwayne McDuffie will forever be gods to me for this one alone!
Whew! Thanks For Reading! Enjoy The Justice League Movie All!
Until Next Time, Keep Fantasizing!