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Releases - DVD - The Complete First Season


Packaging
Menus


Release Information:
Format: DVD
Announce Date: 7/12/06
Street Date: 10/24/06
Closed Captioning: Yes
MSRP: $44.98
Packaging Type: Digi-pak
Media Quantity: 4
Sound Track Language: English
Run Time: 595
Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.78, Widescreen [16:9 Transfer]

Sound Quality:
English: Dolby Surround Stereo 2.0
Francais: Dolby Surround Stereo 2.0
Latin Spanish: Dolby Surround 2.0

Subtitles:
None
Episodes:
Initiation; For the Man Who Has Everything; Hawk and Dove; Fearful Symmetry; Kid Stuff; This Little Piggy; The Return; The Greatest Story Never Told; Ultimatum; Dark Heart; Wake the Dead; The Once and Future Thing, Part 1; The Once and Future Thing, Part 2; The Cat and the Canary; The Ties That Bind; Doomsday Sanction; Task Force X; The Balance; Double Date; Clash; Hunter's Moon; Question Authority; Flashpoint; Panic in the Sky; Divided We Fall; Epilogue

DVD Features:
• And Justice For All – Featurette with all the collaborators behind JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED discussing the revamping of the show, new characters and a new direction.
• This Little Piggy - Audio commentary from Producer Bruce Timm, Writer Paul Dini, Producer Dwayne McDuffie and Producer James Tucker
• The Return – Audio Commentary from Producer Bruce Timm, Director Joaquim Dos Santos, Producer Dwayne McDuffie and Producer James Tucker
• Themes of Justice – An interactive featurette where you the fan choose from a list of “music only” theme music with an intro by Bruce Timm
Official Description: Their powers include, but are not limited to flight, super strength and time travel and together they are the JUSTICE LEAGUE. In Justice League Unlimited: Season 1, SUPERMAN, BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN, THE FLASH, GREEN LANTERN and J’ONN J’ONZZ are joined by new members: GREEN ARROW, SUPERGIRL and CAPTAIN ATOM. Together they eradicate evil and keep the world safe from villains like LEX LUTHOR and CADMUS. Yet, their powers might not be awesome enough to stop the conspiracy growing against them. Picking up from the JUSTICE LEAGUE series, the team must clear their name and fight the ill-doing looming in the government. This incredible action-packed series includes well over 50 of your favorite characters in just the first episode! This incredible 4-disc set contains 26 episodes.

Review (Bird Boy): As with Batman Beyond: Season 2, the announcement that we’d be getting four full discs with 26 episodes spread across them came as a big surprise. Of course this also meant that somewhere along the line Warner had changed the release of this set from the shows initial 13 episodes to the first (production) seasons full 26. You’re asking why on earth I’d be complaining about this, but this change surprised not only the fans, but the crew who worked on the disc as well. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to go back and record featurettes/commentaries on the rest of season 1 (which was broadcast as season 2), though we will be getting a Cadmus arc re-cap featurette on the next set due to the miscommunication between WHV and crew on this one. In the end, it’s hard to complain about lacking something on this set when we’re obviously going to get something on the next!

Moving onto the series itself, as stated we get 26 episodes on this set. This is one hell of a large drop of episodes as well, simply because there is so much content spread throughout the discs. The Cadmus story arc starts early in season 1 and culminates in one of the biggest displays of bad-assery (Flash tearing into Lexiac/Brainthor [whatever you want to call him]) in all of the DCAU. I don’t care if you’re even a fan of the DCAU or not—the wrap up of “Divided We Fall” is just one amazing sight to behold.

But I don’t want to skip too far ahead of myself—“Divided We Fall” is second to last on this set of 26. The first season starts off to a wobbly start with “Initation” and really, the entire first six or seven episodes are hit and miss all the way through, though they are by no means unwatchable (except, maybe, “Hawk and Dove.” Sorry to those who enjoy it!). The more I think about what this season contains the more I could just continually write about it (on “Epilogue” alone I could go on for pages—and I think I already did in the episodes individual review!). There are so many great, tiny moments in each of the 26 episodes that make this set worth its MSRP twice over.

Simply put, bottom line: this set is awesome. There’s no way I would ever consider having a DVD collection without this season of the show in it; there is so much fun and enjoyment to be had out of this series. Show it to your friends or family and I guarantee you they’ll be hooked.

The DVD
Packing for this release is the same as the last two seasons of Justice League, complete with character/logo embossing and dual layer digipak trays. Interesting choices for disc art this time around (Batman, Black Canary, Aquaman and Wildcat), but the colors on the discs really play off of the rest of the packaging, so it all matches in the end. And don't fret about the back cover art-it says "matted" widescreen, but it is anamorphic (more on that below).

Menus…hmmm, what to say about these. Music adorns the main menu only (which features an updated Green Lantern, but a season 1 Superman stock image still) and subsequent sub-menus have some of the weirdest character art I’ve ever seen. Not in terms of quality—they’re all dead on model shots, but Elongated Man fighting Darkseid makes no sense…especially since Darkseid never appears in this set (and he appears on the menus twice). There is also a mix up on the menus and packaging, where it lists “Hunter’s Moon” after “Question Authority” instead of before. Not a major screw up, though it does make watching the final Cadmus four-part finale kind of disjointed if you’re doing it in “Play All” mode.

Strange menus aside, they’re just minor parts of the set. The major part of DVDs is video and audio and this set delivers…big time. Audio is a powerhouse and has no problems covering the epic battles this show portrays. However, there is something else to make note of here besides the episode order mistake. There seems to be an audio skip or glitch in the "Divided We Fall" episode when Green Lantern is fighting the evil Hawkgirl android (ah...spoilers?). The audio seems to repeat itself briefly during that scene. Hopefully this is something that can be addressed.

As for the video…well, let me just say those that were disappointed with Justice League: Season 2’s lack of anamorphic widescreen are going to become very, very excited by what we get on this set. Featuring an all-anamorphic transfer on all episodes, this set has downright beautiful video. There are the usual interlacing and aliasing issues that crop up, but the quality is just so great to look at. Watch this show on a 50”+ plasma and your jaw will drop. Hell, watch it on your PC and you’ll be equally impressed—this transfer is simply beautiful. I cannot give enough kudos on it.

“And Justice For All” covers the first half of season 1 (the first 13), though does mention some of the Cadmus arc stuff that happens later in the set. As mentioned before, this featurette was recorded with only the first 13 episodes in mind, so it’s a bit brief and without full disclosure on the episodes the set contains. The featurette also is presented in a format similar to those found on the single “Justice League” discs, so no roundtable discussion is present here. We hear from nearly everyone on the show—Timm, Tucker, McDuffie, Riba and surprise appearances of Berkowitz and dos Santos. Hearing from the last two was especially cool, as they hadn’t appeared on camera for a featurette before.

“This Little Piggy” commentary is a lot of fun to listen to. As expected, they address the issues fans had with the episode while equally defending it. The commentary remains informative while they crack jokes along the way and they even go into detail about the “Am I Blue” finale—how the track was chosen, why they did it, etc. etc.

“The Return” is another great commentary and features Joaquin dos Santos for his first go-around for voice over on DVD sets. I hope we get to hear from him on the next (and final) release as well, since not only is he a kick ass director, he also added a lot of good bits to the commentary.

“Themes of Justice” gives us five audio-only tracks that are planted over the video counterparts. Great to listen to loud (especially “Luthor’s Stronghold”), though it is slightly disappointing there is no extended version of Conroy singing “Am I Blue?” Still, these tracks are fun to listen to over and over again, I just wish they could put on a few more clips.

To sum it up: buy this set. Buy it, watch it, share it. I’m not kidding when I say I find it the strongest out of the DCAU DVD sets, despite the lack of final 13 episode coverage. The video, audio, special features and episode quality are all just so top notch on this set.

Review (Jim Harvey): Expanding further into the depths of the animated DC Universe, Justice League Unlimited: Season One brings together twenty-six episodes of the hit animated series. A continuation of Justice League, this series threw open the doors to introduce more heroes and more continuity. The regular hour-long format from Justice League was dropped in favor of shorter half-hour installments (with the occasional multi-part storyline). In short, it improves on all the flaws of Justice League, and there were quite a few, and presents an almost fresh take on these animated heroes we’ve grown to enjoy. Not only that, but we have countless new characters introduced, so you really can’t lose.

The series opens with the Justice League opening their ranks to just about every hero on the planet. Seen through the eyes of Green Arrow, we see the first mission of this new league of heroes. While it’s not one of the more enthralling entries, it’s a nice introduction to the series and the characters. The ball rolls from there, with Martian Manhunter dishing out assignments to wide host of heroes. The series does start off a teeny bit shaky, but once the series reaches around the halfway point of the series, things really get going. A more complicated and intriguing plot with unofficial adversaries Cadmus comes to form, leading up to an astonishing multi-part series finale.

Now, not all episodes are great. While I find any episode focusing on such a waste-of-space character like Wonder Woman a total bore, there are other undeserving episodes as well. Episodes like "Hawk and Dove," "The Balance," and "The Ties That Bind" are borderline unwatchable. There are some other mediocre episodes that are neither impressive nor underwhelming . . . they’re just kind of there (i.e., "Dark Heart"). Overall, the episodes are generally high class with stellar animation and gripping stories. The adaptation of "For The Man Who Has Everything," for example, remains one of my personal highlights of the series, as well as the entire "Cadmus" arc and the love it or hate it "Epilogue."

It’s not perfect by any means, or the timeless classic that many fans may see it as. Like every other DCAU series, it has flaws that many overlook. In short, it’s good story-telling, complex characters, engaging plots, and loads of "I can't believe they just did that" moments. It’s a solid show for the animation buff and even the action buff. Fists fly like never before in this series and the tension and suspense is pushed up to an unimaginable degree at times. Plus, we get a few surprise guests here and there.

As for the DVD itself, it’s a mixed bag. As fans found out early on, WHV expanded this from a two-disc set to a four-disc set, adding on thirteen more episodes. Sadly, since this was done at the last minute, the extras got shafted a teeny bit. Commentaries are on just the first thirteen episodes, and the featurette is focused mainly on those first thirteen episodes. Given how large the second season was, fans were understandably upset when the second thirteen episodes were basically pushed aside and given nothing. That’s a shame, too, as the second season brought a whole new level of story-telling to the DCAU. However, rest assured that this will be rectified with the next DVD release. I could go into more detail about this situation, but there are many threads and posts dedicated already to this overblown incident.

Personally, I’m happy with the extras and knowing what’s coming for the next DVD release makes me all the more content. The extras aren’t perfect by any means, but I do find them satisfying enough to overlook any fault on the WHV’s side. Mistakes happen. That’s all. Of course, some tend to look into this situation deeper, like it’s a grand conspiracy to ruin the DVD intentionally, but I think that’s quite ridiculous.

The extras given are pleasing. I found the commentaries to be insightful and enjoyful. The commentary on "This Little Piggy," especially, is great. There’s a fun tone to it that doesn’t give up as the usual suspects discuss the origins on how this episode came to be and even poke fun at it (such as Batman having two cents when crossing a certain river). "The Return" is also an interesting, if somewhat less enjoyable, commentary track. The featurettes serve their purpose as the creators dive into the themes and origins of the first thirteen episodes presented on the disc. Again, it’s likely a lot of "we already know that" from the fans, but there are some cute tidbits in there. Also a nice surprise is the inclusion of the show’s music themes, something fans have been begging for.

And now, for the fun part. The art used on the packaging and the menus themselves. Most of the decisions make little to no sense (Elongated Man fighting Darkseid?) with some truly bizarre choices. And yes, more images of the Justice League: Season One design of Superman (i.e., the bad design) cover the set. The cover art is more of the same, nothing all that exciting. The audio and video are pretty sharp, for one exception. It seems that the audio track hiccups in "Divided We Fall" episode during the climactic battle for just one – two seconds. The video is as solid as can be, in my opinion, on par with previous DCAU releases.

Overall, it’s a great collection that comes Recommended. There are a handful of stinkers but overall, it’s a solid and engaging series. The creative team behind the show really let loose with this series, and we see that. Not only does the love of their characters shine through, but the show manages to remain fun and smart without losing any of the touches that makes the DCAU a fun universe to visit.

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