Justice League was an animated series that ran from 2001 to 2004 on Cartoon Network. It was based on the Justice League of America and other related comic books. For many of us, Justice League and other series were stepping stones into the DC and Marvel Universes, and to this day they remain the gold standard of comic book adaptations. This groundbreaking animated series brought together Batman, Superman, and other heroes into a shared universe which was amazing!
Justice League was aired for only 2 seasons, followed by several other DCAU shows, including its sequel: Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006). However, for many of us, the original remains the best. While several other DCAU shows came and went, none came close to the magic of the original. We list 7 reasons why Justice League the Animated Series is still the best DCAU show.
1. The Opening
The opening episodes of The Justice League animated series are widely considered one of the best stories in the whole DCAU universe. The story involved an alien race invading and attacking Earth. This is the first time the unrelated superheroes, who later formed the Justice League, met and fought together. The story was action-packed and allowed for a nuanced exploration of the relationships between the unrelated Superheroes. Further r, the emotional and troubled back story of the Manhunter was shared. All of this proved to be a great start to the series.
2. Chemistry Between The 7
Limiting the number of characters to allowed the series to better explore each character and the relationships between them. Justice League the animated series deliberately had a lower number of characters to allow nuanced stories and complex relationships to build between the characters. The series allowed unrelated superheroes to work together, bond, and fight antagonists together. This laid a solid foundation for further exploration in the sequel series.
3. Longer Story Arcs
The series often had long-drawn-out stories, stretching over a few episodes. This allowed for greater character exploration and universe building. Longer story arcs are always preferable to shorter stories and stand-alone episodes. They allow for a more immersive experience and provide space for complicated and nuanced storylines which is always delicious!
Justice League The Animated Series had fewer characters than what was featured in the sequel, however, this was a huge positive. It allowed the superheroes to bond and develop nuanced relationships. Episodes gave each character enough space to shine and we often saw them working together in creative ways. However, the same was not possible in subsequent series where the number of characters was increased. This led to a more shallow exploration of characters and relationships.
5. Deep Character Exploration
Due to the limited number of characters in the original Justice League Animated Series, there was scope for deeper character exploration. The individual characters were given more attention and their roles and stories were explored in depth. This was not the case with subsequent sequel series where more characters were added. The low number of characters in the league allowed for deeper dives into the origin stories and motivations of the superheroes. Allowing for a better connection with fans and laying strong foundations for further stories. This was especially the case with the characters of Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and the Martian Manhunter.
This was the first animated series where the league members met and worked together. The amazing, action-packed stories and great writing made for an outstanding series which still remains unsurpassed till date. The series evokes nostalgia and was one of the best creations of the DCAU!
7. Laying the Foundation
The Justice League animated series laid the foundations for further stories in the next series which was called Justice League Unlimited. The relationships built and bonding between the characters were taken further in the subsequent sequel series. One of the biggest contributions of this animated series was to lay the foundations of the franchise, where unrelated superheroes came together to fight evil and protect the earth.