I’ve had a rather tenacious case of insomnia the last few
months, so I’ve been culling though my animation collection. A few weeks ago I
finished watching every episode of  Batman: The Animated Series, and I’ve moved
on now to The Justice League. I’m particularly susceptible to enjoying animated television, so my opinion on cartoons is always skewed and untrustworthy, but
Justice League is one of my all time favorite things ever too grace a
television screen. I usually have at least a minimal understanding of how the
things I like are looked upon by my peers, but actually have pretty much no
idea how the series stands up for the general public. Without too much
hyperbole, I’d call the show the best treatment of the superhero genre outside
of comic books – better then any other animated series, live action series,
film (straight to video or theatrical), video game or novelization.

The series owes its success to the gillions of previously
released comic books, from which the writers can pick and choose the best
stories to adapt. However, the adaptation is fantastic. I love it. I love it
more then the original piece it’s adapted from, the few times I recognize the
original (I’m actually not a very adept comic book fan). For the fun of it,
here’s a listing of the top twenty moments (five at a time) that make Justice League one of my favorite television series and comic book
adaptations of all time. Non-fans may notice that I haven’t picked very many
action or plot moments, but character moments, because these characters are
what makes the show genuinely special above all others.

In release order:

  1. ‘Twilight’
    – “Loser”

Superman and Darkseid engage in
(what at the time was meant to be) their final battle, while Braniac’s fortress
counts down to self destruction. Superman gains the upper hand, but Batman
interrupts him, begging the Man of Steel to come back with him to the escape ship. Superman backhands his friend, and continues moving in for the kill. Batman
regains his composure and jumps onto Superman’s back and uses a ‘boom tube’ to
transmit them back to earth. In reaction, just before exploding and not making
another appearance until the last two part episode of the series, Darkseid, who
is voiced by Michael Ironside, utters a single word – “Loser”.

  1. ‘Tabula
    Rasa’ – Amazo Leaves.

Amazo, an unstoppable nano-powered
android voiced by Robert Picardo, has absorbed the powers of every Justice
League member except Martian Manhunter, and Lex Luthor is in control of him.
The Martian then allows Amazo to do his thing to ensure he’ll read Luthor’s
mind. After realizing he’s been had the android simply leaves earth. No knock
down drag out, no clever exploitation of previously unknown weakness, Amazo
just leaves earth and leaves the League to fear his return. 

  1. ‘Only
    a Dream’ – Batman orders coffee.

After a hard day’s work the League
is under attack in their dreams by a Freddy Kruger inspired version of Dr.
Destiny. Only Batman and J’onn J’ones remain awake and able to fight back. As
the Martian fights Destiny in the dream world Batman goes looking for his
mortal body. But it’s been three days since Batman last slept, so he stops for
a quick triple shot, much to the shock of the customers and employees of a
Starbucks like establishment.

  4.    ‘A
Better World’ – “They’d be so proud.”

The League is held captive in an
alternate universe, while ‘evil’ versions of themselves attempt to rebuild our universe in their image. During an escape ‘good’ Batman and ‘bad’ Batman have a
fight and argument about totalitarianism. ‘Bad’ Batman appears to have the
upper hand when ‘good’ Batman appears to concede. However, ‘good’ Batman turns
the tables later. After the pair watches a minor skirmish end in unfair arrest, ‘good’ Batman makes his move.

be so proud”

“Who?” asks ‘bad’ Batman.

“Mom and Dad.”

  1. ‘The
    Terror Beyond’ – Solomon Grundy’s soul.

After several episodes of treating the zombified
gangster Solomon Grundy like a white skinned evil Hulk, the creators gave him a
real shot at not only character redemption, but redemption as a villain by
making him a hero in his last moments. Grundy brings down a  Cthulhu like God, which Hawk Girl and her race
had forsaken, and lies dying. Hawk Girl goes to his side. Grundy
asks the avowed atheist if his actions have won him back his soul. At first she
starts to explain that she doesn’t believe in the soul, but stops herself, and
tells him what he wants to hear.