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Releases - DVD - The Complete Second Season


Packaging
 
Menus

Announce Date: 11/29/06
Street Date: 03/20/07
Closed Captioning
: Yes
MSRP: $26.99
Packaging Type: Digi-Pack
Subformat: Multi Disc
Media Quantity: 2
Disc Configuration: 1) 9-Dual Layer 2) 9-Dual Layer
Sound Track Language: English
Run Time: 299
Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.77 Widescreen [16:9 Transfer]

Sound Quality:
Dolby Digital Stereo (English and Portugeuse)

Subtitles:
Brazilian
Portuguese
Episodes:
I Am Legion, Shadow of the Hawk, Chaos at Earth's Core, To Another Shore, Flash and Substance, Dead Reckoning, Patriot Act, The Great Brain Robbery, Grudge Match, Far From Home, Ancient History, Alive! (Part 1), Destroyer (Part 2)

DVD Features:
Cadmus: Exposed: Mark Hamill and the Series Creative Personnel Discuss This Popular Series Story Arc
Justice League Chronicles: Series Writers, Producers and Directors Discuss Their Favorite Moments Among Final Season Episodes (Episodes Profiled: "The Great Brain Robbery", "Ancient History", "Alive!")
• Music-Only Audio Track for the Final Episode Destroyer
Official Description: After years of foiled plots and repeated beatings, the galaxy's worst villains finally have a plan: strength in numbers! Led by Lex Luthor, the Legion of Doom prepares to dominate the universe. First order of business: destroy the Justice League. Featuring the original seven Leaguers - Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl - plus many other favorites, each episode showcases these heroes in battles like you've never seen. And just when you think they've faced the most unimaginable evils, a dark figure from the past resurfaces to exact revenge on all of them. Do yourself some justice and bring this legendary compilation of the series' final 13 episodes home today!

Review (Zach Demeter)
As the crew of Justice League Unlimited explains on the DVD, season two (or season three in the way Cartoon Network aired it) was the season that no one knew was coming. Not only was the crew convinced “Epilogue” would be the last outing, fans were slowly warming up to the idea of “Epilogue” being the cap on the whole DCAU—and then Cartoon Network asked for more. I’ll of course be smacked for saying that my immediate reaction was “oh crap”, since I had enjoyed the final episode ending with the pan-out of the pan-in of the first BTAS episode, but who can actually be upset over more Justice League Unlimited? I quickly got over it and eagerly awaited the new season with everyone else.

The crop of 13 episodes in this season were certainly not reminiscent of the past seasons of Justice League Unlimited—for one, the episodes took an admittedly sillier approach, due to the Legion of Doom (“The Great Brain Robbery” is an extremely great episode, but I'm sure fans will admit most of it stems from the situation comedy and one-liners Flash as Luthor gives). However, anyone who thought the show was too childish for them was quickly treated to an excruciating two-part series finale with “Alive!” and “Destroyer.” These episodes featured extreme fighting conditions for both the Legion (in “Alive!”) and the Justice League and Legion (in “Destroyer”). The return of Darkseid made for an exciting finale and the inclusion of Brainiac in his makeup made him even deadlier than before.

You’ll be hard pressed not to enjoy yourself while watching this final season of Justice League Unlimited, though you’ll certainly be sorry that it’s all over by the time the final frame rolls. For all intents and purposes, as of this point in time, this is the final season of the animated DC Universe and even watching it again now I get the same feeling I did before: sad that it’s over, but still excited from watching Superman beat the snot out of Darkseid.

The DVD
The final DVD in the series of the Timm animated DC Universe gets a proper send off and in a big way. While it’s true this is one of the first releases to sport no commentaries since the original release of BTAS: Volume 1, it makes up for it with a healthy dose of special features that total over an hour. But, I’m getting ahead of myself—first the thing you see when you first pick up the set: the package.

Those that have purchased or seen the Batman Beyond: Season 1 set will know what to expect here: ultra-slim packaging with a double layer digi-pak tray. The packaging art is dated, however, for this show: all of the shots on the back cover and interior packaging are all from Justice League Unlimited’s first season. The disc art and menus also share a similar fate—but it’s kind of expected at this point. But the usage of Shayera in her original Hawkgirl outfit (twice this time, no less) is simply strange, since she never once wore that outfit in all of JLU.

While still on the topic of the art, the interior disc art does a neat little trick, but only if you remove disc 2 from the tray: the art featured on the discs is the same as the art underneath it, so you can still see the complete picture below it even while the disc art is there. Unfortunately in disc 2’s case, it should have some of Copperhead on it but instead features only Superman, making for an incomplete picture. Popping disc 2 out allows Grundy’s arm to fulfill itself, while chopping a bit of Superman off—still, it doesn’t look nearly as abruptly cut as the second disc sitting there does. On top of that, the art in the interior tray is old as well and appears to be from the “Injustice For All” episode from Justice League, Dr. Fate aside (GL even has a full head of hair again!).

Menu art is nearly identical to the first season set of JLU, but a different shade this time. Of course, these are just the visual things and I shouldn’t get so upset over seeing repeated stock art (it’s called “stock” for a reason).

The special features are an extremely big treat to watch on this set. On the first disc is what fans were missing from the last set: discussion on the whole Cadmus arc. Bruce Timm, Dwayne McDuffie and James Tucker are moderated by an extremely well-informed Mark Hamill who asks them questions about the Cadmus arc that the fans (and himself) want to know. What’s so great about this feature is how big of a fan Hamill is about Timm’s DC animation work and you get a real sense that he’s a bigger nerd than the crew of this show was at times. The featurette runs slightly over twenty-three minutes in length and is one of the best special features I’ve seen from these DVD sets to date. When you get this set, do yourself a favor and watch it—you won’t be sorry.

The second special feature on the set are the mini-commentaries found on the second disc. They cover “The Great Brain Robbery”, “Ancient History” and “Alive!” and are all super-informative and quick sessions of the episodes. You can tell they watched the episodes as they recorded, as they mentioned specific scenes, so I can assume there were full commentaries, but what we got were the condensed versions without the empty air and repetitive remarks—it’s all informative in this featurette! Timm, McDuffie and Tucker are present in all of them with Matt Wayne and Joaquim dos Santos making an appearance as well. It’s odd that “Destroyer” wasn’t profiled instead of “Alive”, but they do mention Darkseid a few times, but nothing on the Anti-Life Equation or the like is discussed, sadly. The length of this feature is meaty as well and makes for a robust run-time of extras this time around.

The final special feature (no, trailers aren’t a special feature) is an audio-only track for “Destroyer”. After a short intro by Bruce Timm, we get a nearly wall-to-wall track of the music, all dialogue and sound effect free. There are few things better than listening to the music in these shows and this is nothing short of a massive treat. Crank up the sound system and let this one rip, as it’s all worth listening to.

Moving past the special features, we have the main feature and the quality is, as with the last set, top notch. The video is presented in glorious 16x9 anamorphic widescreen (not matted like the back of the box states—don’t worry!) and the usual amount of interlacing and aliasing is present, but overall the transfers are very clean. Compression pops up in the fast moving action sequences, but aside from that, it’s beautiful to look at.

Audio is strong and matrixes out to your extra speakers (whether 5.1 or 7.1) quite well. No qualms with the audio with this release, though I missed the audio glitch in “Divided We Fall” from the last season set—but from what I heard, it all looks wonderful.

The only drawbacks of this set are the lack of chapter stops, but that’s nothing unusual in WHV releases. A neat extra was the fact all the special features were in 16x9 widescreen, a first for the DC DVD releases; on top of the widescreen ratio, the video for the special feature were pretty impeccable, even the animation bits. As a video-quality junkie, I was pretty damn impressed by this (which I’m sure no one else will really notice, but I digress).

Overall you need this volume in your collection. Coupled with the first four-disc set, these two DVD sets make up an unbeatable collection of awesome animation, an incessant amount of superheroes and super villains and some of the finest story telling in all of the DC Animated Universe.

Review (James Harvey)
Upon receiving this DVD, one thing really jumped out at me (much like the Batman Beyond: Season Three release). On the packaging shrink wrap was a sticker saying, “The Final Season.” True, we all knew these were the final seasons, but that sticker, as odd as this may sound, sort of made it seem . . . final. That my collection is now complete.

True, the collection will never be truly complete, as various characters made appearances or cameos on other shows, but it feels complete to me. I don't need Gotham Girls on DVD, nor do I believe that “Lost Episode” is worth having (or even a lost episode . . . it's just video game cut scenes). Having Justice League Unlimited: Season Two is great, and perhaps I should get back on topic before I stray anymore. Let's see what the official synopsis has to say about this release, shall we?

After years of foiled plots and repeated beatings, the galaxy's worst villains finally have a plan: strength in numbers! Led by Lex Luthor, the Legion of Doom prepares to dominate the universe. First order of business: destroy the Justice League. Featuring the original seven Leaguers - Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl - plus many other favorites, each episode showcases these heroes in battles like you've never seen. And just when you think they've faced the most unimaginable evils, a dark figure from the past resurfaces to exact revenge on all of them. Do yourself some justice and bring this legendary compilation of the series' final 13 episodes home today!

And there you have it. The Justice League faces off against the Legion of Doom (despite never actually being called that in the series). We got a wide variety of episodes this season, more than any that came before. It felt like the creative team jumped right into the sandbox and let loose. True, the season does feel slightly unstructured, and it seems a bit jarring after how precise the previous two seasons were. That's not a complaint by any means, just an observation. The show also touched upon several plot threads from earlier seasons, a nice touch for the fans who have been with the show from the beginning.

It's hard to describe this season, a season that no one expected to get. The best was I could describe it is . . . an encore. After the main performance, the “Cadmus” arc from the previous two seasons, the creators took a bow and were ready to call it a day. But the network wanted more, and we got it. This season was fun encore where the creators get to indulge in what they wanted. No doubt they knew this would be the last thirteen episodes, so why not? I think they deserve it, and they pulled out some great material. Sure, there's a couple episodes that may not be up to snuff with the others, but it's a great season. Alot of fans got to see what they've been waiting for (it's odd to see how so many fans were obsessed with seeing that bizarre “Wonder Woman spin," but then again, I find Wonder Woman to be a bland and pointless character).

There are some really stand-out episodes. The season opened solid with “I Am Legion,” and continued on from there. There were some clunkers, namely “Far From Home,” but I found the season to be considerably solid. Each episode either put the team into a completely new and bizarre situation or revisited aspects of the shows to continue old plot lines. And, at the same time, the season was somewhat tied together with the whole “Legion of Doom” subplot which slightly connected each episode.

Is it the best? No. Not at all. I think the second season of Justice League and the “Cadmus” storyline hold firm as the best this series had to offer (hell, I even liked how the “Cadmus” arc came to an explosive finale). I found that sometimes the animation in this season was a bit weak, or the story-telling wasn't as sharp as with past ones, but it really served well as a nice curtain call for the series and the DCAU in general. Sure, the curtain may not stay closed forever, but for now, Justice League Unlimited: Season Two works as that last trip through their universe before closing time.

As for the disc itself, I found it satisfactory. I'm not going to complain about the packaging since there's no point. They used the same stock art, some of it hopelessly outdated. I'm not going to defend it because, personally, I don't care enough to. I will say that since there wasn't alot of Justice League Unlimited stock art to use, I can understand being limited in their choices. And sure, it doesn't seem like they're trying at all, but there's not much we can say about it. This wasn't a high-priority release for Warner Bros., and the budget wasn't all that big, so they did what they did. Life goes on. What matters are the episodes.

And how are they? As far as I can tell, the audio and video are great. The usual interlacing remains, but the print itself is clean. The audio sounds great, especially during the two-part finale. I wish I had more to elaborate on, but really . . . I don't.

Since this is the first Justice League/Justice League Unlimited box set to not include a commentary, how does the set hold up? Pretty damn nice, actually. The thought this collection had a nice amount of extras. The look back at the “Cadmus” arc was excellent. There were some great nuggets of information in there and the dynamic in the roundtable, spearheaded by Mark Hamill, was damn enjoyable. The other featurette, where the creative team takes a close look at a batch of episodes, felt like a nice edited commentary. It felt like alot of the dead-air was cut out, leaving the real meat and bones of the information fans may be interested in.

The final extra, the music-only track to “Destroyer,” is flat out awesome. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to this track. It's wall to wall music and it's damn excellent.

Overall, I'm pleased with this collection. I think it's a great way to send-off the DCAU (for now) and there's something for everyone, it seems. The DVD itself is a fine presentation for the show. Yes, you can find faults with it (some outdated stock art, etc), but what counts is on there. Yes, they could have included, but the same can be said for just about every other DVD release out there. There's always something that the fans will nitpick about, or claim “must be on there,” but I find the final product here to be well done. I also had a complete blast revisiting these episodes. It's a great set, and quick to digest. This release is a no-brainer pick-up. For fans wishing to cap off their Justice League or DCAU collection, look no further. Highly Recommended.
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