The World's Finest Presents

Legends

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
Credits:
Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by Dan Riba
Music by Lolita Ritmanis
Animation Services by Koko Enterprise Co., LTD.

Voices:
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
Screen Grabs, Part 1






Pans, Part 1


Screen Grabs, Part 2






Pans, Part 2



Review

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 JGA.

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 premise justice.

"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.

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