Episode #18 - Legends, Part 1
Original Airdate - April 21st, 2002
During a fight with Lex Luthor, the Justice League is blasted into an
alternate reality where they meet the Justice Guild of America, a group
of old-fashioned comic-book heroes whose exploits Green Lantern
remembers reading about when he was a kid.
Episode #19 - Legends, Part 2
Original Airdate - April 28th, 2002
After coming across startling evidence concerning the Justice Guild,
Green Lantern approaches the heroes with it with horrific results.
Media by Bird Boy
Review by Bleu Unicorn
Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by Dan Riba
Music by Lolita Ritmanis
Animation Services by Koko Enterprise Co., LTD.
Maria Canals as Hawkgirl
Phil LaMarr as Green Lantern
Carl Lumbly as J'onn J'onzz
George Newbern as Superman
Michael Rosenbaum as Flash
David Naughton as The Streak
William Katt as Green Guardsman
Stephen Root as Cat Man
Ted McGinley as Tom Turbine
Jennifer Hale as Black Siren
Neil Patrick Harris as Ray Thompson
Udo Kier as The Music Master
Michael McKean as The Sportsman
Corey Burton as Dr. Blizzard
Jeffrey Jones as Sir Swami
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When the Justice League foils an attack by Lex Luthor, Flash, Green
Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter are transported to an alternate
reality. There, they meet up with the Justice Guild of America -
characters from a comic book that GL read when he was a child. Being the
true heroes they are, the Justice League soon joins the JGA in helping
to thwart the plans of their villainous enemies, the Injustice Guild. To
her surprise, and GL's disbelief, Hawkgirl discovers that the real JGA
is dead. Together the two search for clues as to the truth behind this
mysterious world that mirrors our own - inevitably confronting the JGA
and learning the identity of their true nemesis.
This story, which is fittingly dedicated to Gardner F. Fox, seems to be
one of the more misunderstood of the series. On the surface, it is a
parody of the Golden Age comics, complete with the corny lines and
campiness we have all come to associate with that comic book era.
"Legends" has a much deeper meaning than just that - paying a glorious
tribute to the heroes so many of us have forgotten, but loved so very
much, which is shown so wonderfully with GL's character and responses
throughout the entire episode arc. He worshipped the JGA as a child and
the thought that they could be behind the ruse that is Seaboard City was
too much for him to take at face value.
"Legends" does so much right, where so many of the episodes go so wrong.
The opening sequence, which quite literally had me on the edge of my
seat, is a grand example. The fight against Luthor is one of the best
action sequences to date - in fact; I will venture to say it is a
perfect action sequence. All too often, the Leaguers tend not to act
like a league, fighting one at a time instead of as a team. This
sequence displays a level of teamwork from the JL that not only was
effective in defeating Luthor's robot, but also literally left me
starring at the television in utter awe.
Anyone familiar with the Golden Age comics and/or the 1960s Batman
series should feel right at home watching "Legends." From Ray's
"holy-isms" to Dr. Blizzard's punning to Green Guardsman's ring being
powerless against aluminum, we are reminded repeatedly about the
shortcomings and quirks of many our DC icons. Streak's constant
reiteration of good morals, in some ways, is very reminiscent of the
early '80s cartoons I grew up watching. Beyond the parodying, though was
a remarkable likeness to many DC characters; Green Guardsman being very
much Alan Scott, Streak mirroring Jay Garrick perfectly, Catman as a
nice mixture of Batman and Wildcat, Black Siren portraying Black Canary,
and Tom Turbine as a great combination of Atom and Superman. In fact,
not only was the JGA itself a likeness to the characters - much of the
story itself comes from the same comic roots. GL remembers GG from the
comics, the same way Barry Allen knows of Jay Garrick, for instance.
To be honest, there is so much crammed into this episode, I could
literally go on forever. It really is a wonderful portrayal and
dedication - and is done so very well.
The character interaction is also one of the key highlights of this
episode. Streak in particular has many obviously patronizing - possibly
borderline insulting - lines within this episode, yet in the context of
when they are said, one easily understands they are compliments. His
comment to GL that he is a "credit to his people" is undoubtedly racist
and yet it is meant as a complete compliment to John Stewart. The
complete disregard to Ray's safety by Catman in brining him along is
literally laughable and J'onn's warning flies right over his head. Dr.
Blizzard and Flash probably have the best interaction during their
fight; the puns they bounce off each other were just hilarious and fit
the scene perfectly. Hawkgirl's interactions with Black Siren were also
a treat to watch - and her comment to Flash, "One word and you'll be the
fastest man alive with a limp," is one of the most priceless and
memorable lines of the entire series. Along with her impatience with
GG's good Samaritanism and powerlessness over aluminum, which are so
purely in character.
The dialogue in this episode is definitely at its very best for the
series, timing itself perfectly to the scenes. Flash's punning retorts
to Blizzard are executed in exactly the right places and work so well
with Blizzard's initial puns it almost seems like a verbal dance. In
addition, Hawkgirl has some great dialogue here - as I mentioned before.
I especially love her condescending tone towards Black Siren when she
asks her how she manages to bake cookies and fight crime! Granted some
of the dialogue really is almost cringe-worthy in its corniness, it fits
this entire storyline so well, it is forgivable. I especially love the
deep emotion you hear in the JGA towards the end when they battle Ray,
knowing they are solidifying their own deaths. Tom Turbine's line to
Ray, "In Seaboard City, crime doesn't pay," is filled with so much
sorrow that you almost want him to leave Ray alone, just to preserve the
For me, the absolute best thing about this episode is the cliffhanger.
It left me completely at a loss as to what would happen in the second
half of the arc - and for once Cartoon Network did not ruin it with
their preview! Ray as the true villain works perfectly. His character,
as the Justice Guild's Junior Justice Guildsman was without a doubt the
most annoying thing and it made total sense that he would be the one
behind the whole illusion. It is so pathetic that it actually is sad how
obsessed he was about his heroes and the world he grew up living in that
he would forsake everything to keep it exactly the same. Also, it seems
equally fitting that the JGA, as the obsessively good heroes they are,
to sacrifice themselves without a moment's thought to save their world,
again. GL's reaction to that is really heart breaking. He lost his
heroes once, when the comic stopped being published, and in a split
second, they are taken from him again.
The animation was rather good in this episode, along with some very
interesting camera angles that really capture the moment of the scene.
However, there were a few choppy moments that I caught. Green Lantern
always seems inconsistent in this series - and in this episode, it
appears he is just about every height. Some of the movements of the
characters were a bit off; there is one place where it almost appears
that GL's torso moves of its own accord, rather than his character
turning to face the camera.
Unfortunately, even with this wonderful of an episode there still is
some that could be improved. First, I have to say that Cartoon Network
was at fault when they aired this episode before "Injustice for All."
While there is no mention of this episode, it would have been slightly
easier (not to mention understandable) to recognize Luthor in the
beginning. That aside, I found Batman's presence in this episode, as
brief as it was, completely unnecessary. He has no lines - unless you
count a grunt as a line - and personally, his one deed could have easily
been accomplished by Superman. The campiness and corniness, while
understandable and enjoyable, was at times absolutely annoying. The
degree to which it occurred and the frequency was at times almost too
much to bare. Why was J'onn in this episode? He is almost completely
useless - and it seems very contrived that he seems to know everything
at just the right moment! Where did all these people come from? Why are
they alive? Why didn't they age a single day in forty years? Nothing is
really talked about them at all; save for the seven seconds it takes the
ice cream man to say they destroyed their world. Finally, the last scene
with GL and the portal really was weak. Granted it is established that
the JGA is part of why he became a Green Lantern - and their death gave
him more confidence, but this small scene really does not do this
"Legends" is without a doubt one of the most comedic episodes of the
entire series. As a tribute to the Golden Age of DC comics, it does a
superb job - capturing the likeness of that era down to its most
miniscule detail and creating a story that warms the heart and soul of
both fan boys and those new to these characters.