Justice League: The Complete Series (2009) (DVD)

Though marketed as “The Complete Series,” the Justice League complete sets provides fifteen DVD’s that actually boasts two highly different television series’. I say that because the creators eventually reached a limit to what they could do with one version of their show and eventually provided a second series that was obviously an extension of the show but approached the source material with a different tone altogether. So while reviewing the show I had to take in to consideration that I was reviewing two series based on a single idea stuffed in to a very beautiful boxed set that is protected by a dazzling tin display case.

With the plethora of special features we get to see “Justice League,” a show based around the comic books dressed in Bruce Timm’s signature art style and storytelling. Here we follow seven of DC’s flagship heavyweights who take hold of the first series through epic storylines based around two parter episodes that are often more epic than most of the animated series ever made.

Earlier episodes show the seven original members fighting alternate reality versions of themselves, Hawkgirl’s war-like society who put a stranglehold on Earth, and a WWII setting where Vandal Savage nearly helps the Nazis take over the world in what’s called “Savage Time.” Watching “Justice League” feels like watching a more adult series as the creators solely target the older teenage audiences by rarely ever pulling away from the adult material. Either way the show takes risks in terms of content and character actions and presents a gutsier look at the DC superheroes than any of Bruce Timm’s series ever did. Superman gives Doomsday a lobotomy for Pete’s sake!

Also take for example when the JL meets up with their fictional comic book heroes and one character looks over to John Stewart and proclaims, “You’re a credit to your race.” Then there’s “Justice League Unlimited” a lighter but more exciting series that took the original seven and introduced a slew of DC superheroes who would all take a part in helping to protect Earth and stop a villainous government mandated program aimed at stopping the league and its watch tower. Here people like Green Arrow, The Atom, and Booster Gold are introduced and engage in their own episodes, most of which are rather excellent in storytelling and action. When dissected both takes on the Justice League concepts are similar but “Unlimited” widens the scope on Timm’s DC Universe and provides some of the best episodes ever made.

Sadly the series has been draw in to obscurity but this set does it justice. I highly recommend this set to people who held out on the original series sets, but if you’ve already purchased the entire run individually, this is probably not worth the second purchase. Sure the case is boss, but it’s still just the same show with the same special features taken from the previous sets.  When all is said and done, this set is not very necessary unless you’ve been sticking it out and biding your time. That’s when buying this pays off. There are over 2,000 hours in this bad boy. Both versions of “Justice League” are exciting, rousing and present their own take on the Justice League mythos that only heavyweights like Bruce Timm could accomplish. It’s a great series filled with top notch voice work and animation and is well deserving of royal treatment.