Promotional image of the Justice League by Bruce Timm
Promotional image of the Justice League by Bruce Timm

Justice League is an American animated series about a team of superheroes, which ran from 2001 to 2004 on Cartoon Network. The series is based on the Justice League and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics. It follows the adventures of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter. The series was immediately followed by Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006).

Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
126November 17, 2001 (2001-11-17)November 9, 2002 (2002-11-09)
226July 5, 2003 (2003-07-05)May 29, 2004 (2004-05-29)

Episode list

Season 1 (2001–2002)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
1
2
3
1
2
3
"Secret Origins"Dan Riba
Butch Lukic
Dan Riba
Rich FogelNovember 17, 2001 (2001-11-17)4.32[1]

As alien invaders who were accidentally awakened on Mars begin to take over the Earth, Superman and Batman rescue Martian Manhunter, who telepathically summons Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, The Flash, and Green Lantern to help stop the invasion. Superman gathers everyone at the newly built Watchtower, funded by Batman, and asks them to be part of a team, which he dubs the Justice League.


Absent: Green Lantern and Hawkgirl (Part I)
4
5
4
5
"In Blackest Night"Butch LukicStan BerkowitzNovember 19, 2001 (2001-11-19)
November 26, 2001 (2001-11-26)
N/A

Green Lantern surrenders himself to robotic Manhunters to stand trial for the destruction of a planet. While Flash acts as Green Lantern's attorney, the rest of the League discovers that Kanjar Ro helped the Manhunters frame Green Lantern.


Absent: Batman and Wonder Woman
6
7
6
7
"The Enemy Below"Dan RibaKevin HoppsDecember 3, 2001 (2001-12-03)
December 10, 2001 (2001-12-10)
N/A

A nuclear submarine is attacked in the Atlantic, forcing the League to come face-to-face with Aquaman and his Atlantean army. Aquaman follows Superman's advice to go to Metropolis and take his problems up with the various governments of the world. When a mercenary, Deadshot, attacks Aquaman, the League steps in. Aquaman discovers that Lord Orm, his own brother, was behind the attack. Orm takes Aquaman and his infant son and places them on a cliff over a vein of molten lava, leaving them to die. To save his son, Aquaman sacrifices his own hand.


Absent: The Flash and Hawkgirl
8
9
8
9
"Injustice for All"Butch LukicStan BerkowitzSeptember 6, 2002 (2002-09-06)
September 13, 2002 (2002-09-13)
N/A
Exposed as a criminal, sentenced to prison, and terminally ill due to long-term Kryptonite exposure, Lex Luthor escapes and assembles a supervillain team, the Injustice Gang, to take on the Justice League. The gang consists of Cheetah, Star Sapphire, Shade, Copperhead, Ultra-Humanite, and Solomon Grundy. Joker also becomes part of the team, on his own initiative and due to his expertise on Batman, despite Luthor's dismay due to the failure of their past alliance. Even with their combined power, the gang proves no match for Batman's guile.
10
11
10
11
"Paradise Lost"Dan RibaJoseph KuhrJanuary 21, 2002 (2002-01-21)
January 28, 2002 (2002-01-28)
N/A

Having spent nearly eight months with the League and feeling she owes her mother Hippolyta an explanation for her leaving Themyscira abruptly to fight in the Imperium invasion, Wonder Woman returns to her home only to encounter Sorcerer Felix Faust who threatens to keep her home population transformed into stone if she does not gather artifacts for him. He uses the artifacts to release Hades from Tartarus. The League succeeds in banishing Hades and his minions, but Wonder Woman is exiled from Themyscirafor allowing the men of the Justice League to help.


Absent: Green Lantern and Hawkgirl
12
13
12
13
"War World"Butch LukicStan BerkowitzFebruary 24, 2002 (2002-02-24)
March 3, 2002 (2002-03-03)
N/A

Superman and Martian Manhunter are abducted by extraterrestrial slave traders and sold to the planet War World, whose despotic ruler Mongul pits aliens against each other in mortal combat in an enormous colosseum. Hawkgirl and Green Lantern set out to rescue them.


Absent: Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash
14
15
14
15
"The Brave and the Bold"Dan RibaStory by : Rich Fogel and Paul Dini
Teleplay by : Dwayne McDuffie
March 10, 2002 (2002-03-10)
March 17, 2002 (2002-03-17)
1.02[2]
N/A

The Flash and Green Lantern uncover a plot by Gorilla Grodd to destroy Gorilla City, a hidden city of hyperintelligent talking gorillas in Africa. Grodd has a device that allows him to control the minds of others and uses stolen gorilla technology to conquer all of Central City and put its inhabitants under his control. Locked inside the force field-shielded city, Flash and Green Lantern work together with Solovar, Gorilla City's chief of security, to destroy the enemy from within before Grodd carries out his revenge.


Absent: Superman

Absent: Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl (Part 1 only)
16
17
16
17
"Fury"Butch LukicStory by : Stan Berkowitz
Teleplay by : Dwayne McDuffie
April 7, 2002 (2002-04-07)
April 14, 2002 (2002-04-14)
2.26[3]
N/A
A rogue Amazonian named Aresia, who was born in the mortal world and raised on Themyscira, forms another incarnation of the Injustice Gang with Star Sapphire, Shade, Copperhead, Solomon Grundy, and a new villain named Tsukuri. She sets out to steal a ruby to use it as a virus to kill the world's male population, whom she holds responsible for the death of her family members in a war. When the male members of the League are infected by the virus, putting them out of commission. Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl must work with Hippolyta to stop Aresia.
18
19
18
19
"Legends"Dan RibaAndrew KreisbergApril 21, 2002 (2002-04-21)
April 28, 2002 (2002-04-28)
2.82[5]
N/A

Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl are accidentally transported to a parallel world and discover the Justice Guild of America, who are comic book characters in the Justice League's world. As they traverse this world and help the Justice Guild of America fight the Injustice Guild, they soon discover that not everything is what it seems since the end of their comic series.


Note: The episode is dedicated to Gardner Fox, a Golden and Silver Age comic writer who co-created both the Justice Society of America (JSA) and the Justice League of America (JLA), the comics on which the Guild --and this series, respectively -- are based.[4] Originally, the showrunners wanted to use the JSA, but DC Comics publisher Paul Levitz felt that the story was inappropriate, so they altered the names and designs of the team. However, a teaser was produced for the episode with the JSA.[citation needed]

Absent: Wonder Woman
20
21
20
21
"A Knight of Shadows"Butch LukicKeith DamronSeptember 20, 2002 (2002-09-20)
September 27, 2002 (2002-09-27)
N/A

Jason Blood and his alter-ego Etrigan the Demon seek the assistance of the Justice League in preventing the Philosopher's stone from falling into the hands of his ancient enemy, the sorceress Morgaine le Fey.


Absent: Superman, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl
22
23
22
23
"Metamorphosis"Dan RibaLen Uhley
Story by : Len Uhley
Teleplay by : Dwayne McDuffie
October 4, 2002 (2002-10-04)
October 11, 2002 (2002-10-11)
N/A

Green Lantern's old friend Rex Mason, now working for a shady industrialist, suffers an "accident" arranged by his jealous employer Simon Stagg and is transformed into the superhero Metamorpho.


Absent: Wonder Woman and The Flash
24
25
26
24
25
26
"The Savage Time"Butch Lukic
Dan Riba
Butch Lukic
Stan BerkowitzNovember 9, 2002 (2002-11-09)N/A

The Justice League returns from a mission in space to find the world transformed; a result of villain Vandal Savage feeding information to his past self in the 1940s, allowing him to help the Nazis win World War II. The League travels back in time themselves to stop him, and fight Nazis alongside WWII-era heroes Easy Company, the Blackhawks, and Steve Trevor.


Absent: Batman (Part II)

Season 2 (2003–2004)

Starting this season, the episodes were produced in 16:9 widescreen which were letterboxed in 4:3 when broadcast.

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
27
28
1
2
"Twilight"Dan Riba
Butch Lukic
Rich Fogel and Bruce TimmJuly 5, 2003 (2003-07-05)

The League is tricked into defending Darkseid's homeworld of Apokolips against the threat of Brainiac, despite Superman's skepticism and his anger at what had last occurred between him and the ruler of Apokolips. The team solicits the aid of the New Gods, including Orion, Lightray, and Highfather. The resulting destruction of Brainiac's base is thought to be the end of Darkseid, although Superman believes otherwise.


Absent: The Flash and Green Lantern
29
30
3
4
"Tabula Rasa"Dan RibaStan BerkowitzOctober 4, 2003 (2003-10-04)
Lex Luthor manipulates a powerful android named Amazo with the ability to copy any superpower, posing as a father figure to it. Meanwhile, Martian Manhunter questions the nature of humans and struggles with the burden of hearing thousands of their minds in his head at once, after performing a psychic sweep of the city of Metropolis in a failed attempt to locate Luthor.
31
32
5
6
"Only a Dream"Butch LukicStan BerkowitzOctober 11, 2003 (2003-10-11)

Small time crook John Dee volunteers for an experimental treatment while in prison. While the authorities are distracted by a mass prison break led by Volcana, Luminus, Copperhead, Solomon Grundy and Firefly, John Dee overdoses on the treatment and becomes the dream-controlling Doctor Destiny. Destiny takes telepathic control of most of the League in their sleep and puts them in nightmares where Flash can't stop running, nobody knows Green Lantern due to his status as a member of the Justice League, Superman being unable to control his powers which led to the deaths of the people he knows, and Hawkgirl is buried alive. The League members become trapped in their dreams and unable to wake up. This leaves only Batman and Martian Manhunter left. Martian Manhunter tries to force them awake, while Batman, resisting sleep goes to confront Doctor Destiny.


Note: Wonder Woman only appears in a dream sequence but has no lines.
33
34
7
8
"Maid of Honor"Dan RibaDwayne McDuffieOctober 18, 2003 (2003-10-18)

Wonder Woman befriends the princess of Kasnia, a jet-setting party girl who is reluctant to end her wild ways to get married. Unfortunately, her fiancé is the immortal Vandal Savage, and he already has plans for both the throne and the Justice League. Wonder Woman and Batman must stop Savage, while Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter take out Savage's new Rail Gun satellite.


Note: This is the first episode of the Justice League series in which Batman appears as Bruce Wayne.

Absent: Superman and Hawkgirl
35
36
9
10
"Hearts and Minds"Butch LukicKeith DamronOctober 25, 2003 (2003-10-25)

Kilowog crashes to Earth, seeking Green Lantern's help to rescue other members of the Green Lantern Corps from the psychic, would-be conqueror Despero. He also explains that Green Lantern's former mentor and lover, Katma Tui, is one of the captives. After facing Despero and losing, Green Lantern has to retrain himself to use his power ring to help the League end Despero's reign. Flash, Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter accompany Kilowog to Despero's planet to help Green Lantern stop him.


Absent: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman
37
38
11
12
"A Better World"Dan RibaStan BerkowitzNovember 1, 2003 (2003-11-01)

In an alternate reality, the Justice League launches an assault on the White House, where Superman kills President Luthor in retaliation for the Flash's execution by Luthor. Two years later, the League, now called the Justice Lords, rule the planet with an iron fist. Justice Lord Batman discovers the dimension where the Justice League lives. The Lords cross over and trap the League in a force field. They then take the League's places, attempting to make this Earth like their own. After finding their way back to their world, the Justice League ends up having to turn to their world's version of Lex Luthor for help.


Note: The idea of evil counterparts from an alternate reality is loosely based on the Crime Syndicate of America.[citation needed]
39
40
13
14
"Eclipsed"Dan RibaJoseph KuhrNovember 8, 2003 (2003-11-08)

An ancient lunar crystal called the Black Heart is discovered. Unbeknownst to the members of the Justice League, it harbors an evil snake spirit with the ability to possess its bearer, and hum or whistle an eerie evil tune. The crystal's power contaminates almost all of the League, except for the Flash, who must save the League from a weapon that will destroy both the Sun and the Earth.


Absent: Batman
41
42
15
16
"The Terror Beyond"Butch LukicDwayne McDuffieNovember 15, 2003 (2003-11-15)

Doctor Fate and Aquaman rescue Solomon Grundy, intent on using him to help battle an ancient evil. Superman, Hawkgirl and Wonder Woman are conflicted about this goal.


Note: The pairing of these heroes is an homage to the Marvel Comics superhero team The Defenders. The plot is based upon H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos.[6]

Absent: Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter
43
44
17
18
"Secret Society"Dan RibaStan BerkowitzNovember 22, 2003 (2003-11-22)
While the Justice League are quarreling about the value of mutual trust and teamwork, Grodd organizes a Secret Society composed of Giganta, Killer Frost, Sinestro, Parasite, Shade, and Clayface. The Society captures most of the League, but Martian Manhunter frees the others, and the Society is defeated in front of a crowded stadium.
45
46
19
20
"Hereafter"Butch LukicDwayne McDuffieNovember 29, 2003 (2003-11-29)

A band of supervillains (composed of Metallo, Kalibak, Livewire, Weather Wizard, and Toyman) team up to get revenge on Superman. When they attack Metropolis, Toyman shoots an experimental weapon at Batman and an injured Wonder Woman, but Superman sacrifices himself to save them and is seemingly vaporized. The League attempts to cope with the loss of Superman by defending Metropolis in his absence, save for Batman, who does not believe Superman is truly dead and begins investigating on what actually happened. Eventually, Lobo arrives at the Watchtower and nominates himself as Superman's replacement, but he does more harm than good. Superman wakes up 30,000 years in Earth's future, but the sun has turned red, removing his superpowers. He encounters a humbled Vandal Savage, the only human left alive after an attempt at world domination staged a few months after Superman's disappearance. Savage reveals he had been working on a time machine, but he is immortal, and he cannot exist at the same time as his previous self as it would cause a paradox. Superman can go back to a time where he doesn't exist, i.e., after his 'death'. With knowledge of past Savage's crime, he goes back in time, reunites with the League and informs them of Savage's plot. Lobo is sent on his way. In the future, the desolate wasteland is replaced with people and a city as a thankful Savage disappears from existence.


Note: Writer Dwayne McDuffie wrote on his forum that the episode title "Hereafter" is a subtle pun: Part One shows the apparent death of Superman, which according to most religions would send his soul to some sort of "Hereafter." But as we learn in Part Two, actually, he'd been sent to the future while remaining geographically in the same place (the future ruins of Metropolis), and was thus "here, after."[citation needed]
47
48
21
22
"Wild Cards"Butch LukicStan Berkowitz & Dwayne McDuffieDecember 6, 2003 (2003-12-06)

With his Gwynplaine Entertainment Company (a reference to The Man Who Laughs) the Joker takes over TV stations in Las Vegas, announcing that he has placed a series of bombs that will destroy the Strip in 22 minutes and 51 seconds if they are not stopped by the Justice League. With the whole world watching, the League must first get past the Joker's own super-team, the Royal Flush Gang. However, the threat imposed by the Joker is not as simple as it seems, and Batman must track down his location to stop him.


Note: This episode is notable as a 'hidden crossover' with Teen Titans, as the Royal Flush Gang is voiced by the five principal actors from that series. The gang's designs are also based on the Teen Titans voice actors.[7]

Note: Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter make cameos on the computer monitors.
4923"Comfort and Joy"Butch LukicPaul DiniDecember 13, 2003 (2003-12-13)

After saving two worlds, the members of the Justice League decide to take a break to celebrate the holidays. The Flash spends his Christmas Eve with the children of an orphanage, who ask that he find them a special animated toy duck. The popular toy is broken by the Ultra-Humanite, who eventually comes around and helps The Flash. Green Lantern and Hawkgirl show each other how they spend the holidays. Green Lantern engages in a snowball fight with Hawkgirl. Hawkgirl responds by starting an interplanetary barroom brawl. Batman spends Christmas on Watchtower duty. Meanwhile, Superman invites Martian Manhunter over to Smallville for Christmas Eve with his adoptive parents. Although Martian Manhunter is initially uncomfortable, he eventually learns to enjoy Christmas.


Note: This was the first and only standalone episode of the series.

Absent: Batman and Wonder Woman
50
51
52
24
25
26
"Starcrossed"Butch Lukic
Dan Riba
Butch Lukic
Rich Fogel
Story by : Rich Fogel
Teleplay by : John Ridley
Rich Fogel & Dwayne McDuffie
May 29, 2004 (2004-05-29)

After Earth is attacked by a Gordanian battleship, the League is aided by an army of Hawkmen from Hawkgirl's home planet of Thanagar. The Thanagarians offer to help Earth build a shield to defend against the Gordanians, but Batman discovers that this is just a ruse. Hawkgirl finds herself torn between her allegiance to Thanagar and her commitment to the Justice League, as well as between her betrothal to the Thanagarian commander Hro Talak and her budding romantic love for Green Lantern.


Note: Hro Talak is an anagram for Katar Hol, Hawkman's given name in the comic series.[citation needed]

Static Shock crossovers

Main article: List of Static Shock episodes

Note: Chronologically, these episodes take place prior to "Starcrossed", as they make use of the original Watchtower and Shayera Hol still uses her "Hawkgirl" cover.[citation needed]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
30
31
S03E06
S03E07
"A League of Their Own"UncreditedErnie Altbacker (Part 1)
Dwayne McDuffie (Part 2)
March 1, 2003 (2003-03-01)
March 8, 2003 (2003-03-08)

When the Watchtower has a sudden power drain, the Justice League recruits Static to jump start their station before it reenters the atmosphere. Unbeknownst to either Static or Gear, the power drain also releases Brainiac from his confinement. Static and Gear manage to bring Brainiac down, but the villain has a loophole left to slip through.


Absent: Superman and Wonder Woman
43S04E04"Fallen Hero"Chuck DrostStan BerkowitzFebruary 7, 2004 (2004-02-07)

Static faces off against his idol Green Lantern (actually Sinestro in disguise) when he causes chaos all over town.


Note: Although this is a crossover with Justice League, only Green Lantern appears.

Other

The comic series spun off from Justice League (Justice League Adventures and Justice League Unlimited) are loosely set in the same continuity as the series. They occasionally use different characters, such as Blue Beetle, Mary Marvel, Power Girl, Black Lightning and Firestorm and sometimes contradict events already shown, for example Wonder Woman remembering the events from "The Once and Future Thing".

Matt Wayne (who wrote "Chaos At Earth's Core", "Flash & Substance", and "Patriot Act") wrote issues 37 and 38 of the comic. His stories are based on unused episode ideas.[8]

References

  1. ^ "Justice League and Dexter's Lab Score Huge Ratings". Anime Superhero Forum.
  2. ^ "Best-Ever First Quarter Ratings for Cartoon Network". Anime Superhero Forum.
  3. ^ "Justice League and Powerpuff Girls Pack a Ratings Punch". Anime Superhero Forum.
  4. ^ Sava, Oliver (January 2, 2012). "Justice League: "Legends"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 24, 2017. Andrew Kreisberg’s script is a tribute to the Golden Age JSA/JLA team-ups originated by Gardner Fox (the episode is dedicated to his memory)
  5. ^ "JL and CCF Help Cartoon Network Set Ratings Records in April". Anime Superhero Forum.
  6. ^ Jones, Mark (2013). "Tentacles and Teeth: The Lovecraftian Being in Popular Culture". In Simmons, David (ed.). New Critical Essays on H. P. Lovecraft. p. 238. doi:10.1057/9781137320964_13. ISBN 978-1-137-32096-4. OCLC 5576363673. S2CID 163813745.
  7. ^ "Justice League, "Wild Cards"". the-avocado.org. 5 May 2019. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  8. ^ "The World's Finest - Justice League Unlimited". dcanimated.com. Retrieved 2019-06-07.