We’re a few months into the new year and today we’ll be looking at the latest take on DC’s greatest heroes, Justice League Action. There’s been plenty of anticipation for this show but also some concern about how well it will do considering Cartoon Network’s track record of cartoon reboots. I’ll be taking a look at how well it holds up on its own and as a retelling of the Justice League story.
The story is simple, straight forward, and exactly what you’d expect. A cartoon showcasing the adventures of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the superheroes that are a part of the Justice League. The episodes are short, around 10-12 minutes each, and focus on either one hero or a select group facing off against a supervillain(s). If you’re expecting this show to be similar to the Justice League series that Paul Dini and Bruce Timm created, do not get your hopes up. The show focuses more on action and comedy, than story detail and drama.
In the show, there are of course the notable DC characters such as Superman, Batman, Joker, Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, and Shazam. However, we also have many “tier 2” heroes like Constantine, Swamp Thing, and…Space Cabbie. Yeah, I’ll get to that in a second, but first I want to talk about the notable voice actors that bring these characters to life. Kevin Conroy voices Batman once more and Mark Hamill reprises his role as the Joker, both doing a great job as always playing the psychopathic, comedic clown prince of crime, and the brooding dark knight. Oddly enough James Woods plays Lex Luthor. His performance isn’t anything special, it’s just James Woods playing James Woods. It’s fitting since he does play Luthor as the conniving, brilliant businessman that we all know, but he feels more like a conman or like Woods’ more well known character Hades from Hercules. Not the best, but he does a decent job.
It’s quite obvious that this show is definitely aimed at kids The dialogue is simplified so that younger audiences can understand what’s going on and there isn’t as much suspense or danger. The characters are your basic good guys and bad guys, without too much depth.
It can be best compared to the Bronze and Silver Age comics, especially since it features vague, dated characters like the Space Cabby, the Nuclear Family, a group of androids that look like cyborgs from 1950’s suburbia, and Cain the Caretaker. Some of them just feel out of place working or fighting against Superman or Batman, but I will admit that at least the show isn’t relying on the same characters we’ve seen before. Though some choices just seem bizarre.
Even though this show is aimed at a younger audience, I think older audiences can still enjoy it. The comedy isn’t anything spectacular, but you’re bound to get a couple of chuckles even if it feels out of character for a hero/villain to act a certain way. The action in the series is as absolutely amazing and probably the best aspect of the show. As simplified and toned down as the show can be, the action and fight scenes are swift, epic, fast paced, and well-choreographed. I can see kids and adults enjoying the sight of their favorite heroes brawling with DC’s most dangerous and watching the heroes save the day.
Overall, Justice League Action is an okay show. It’s nothing spectacular or note worthy, but it’s a harmless, enjoyable show that viewers of all ages can enjoy. I can’t promise that everyone will enjoy this but I can guarantee that it’s at least relatively faithful to the source material.