JUSTICE LEAGUE - LEGENDS

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The Justice Guild Did you know that the concept of a 'staged team-up' began in Vaudeville? You see, for a comedian to get himself heard properly in that non-technological age, he needed a 'partner' to mirror his words, so that the audience could hear him properly in the auditorium. Funny enough, the hero's in this 40-minute cartoon made in 2002 need to make themselves heard too.


Justice League - Legends


THE STORY:
Now I know that this may sound corny, but due to a brash encounter with the criminal mastermind, Lex Luthor, four members of the Justice League find themselves on a world populated by a team of old-school comic-book characters, named 'The Justice Guild'. Moreover, not so long after these two teams get better acquainted with each other, a gang of colorful bad-guys decide that this is the right time to cause havoc within this cheesy lo-cal.

Holy Moly! So what do you think the good guys do about it, huh? Make cake? Have some tea! Watch an episode of 'Super Friends'? No! Of course not! They team-up of course.

Green Lantern and the Streak do their best to put a dent in the Magicians horrible hocus-pocus. Hawkgirl and the Green Guardsman fly off to prevent Fiddle-Sticks from stealing an antique airplane. The Flash and Black Siren attempt to halt the evil machinations of Doctor Blizzard. Plus Martian Manhunter, Catman, and Ray, try to nix the Sports Master from running away with a prized possession.

Wow! All sounds pretty cool, I am sure that you'll agree. However, I am sorry to say that not everything works out very coolly by any stretch of the imagination. Well, both the Flash and Black Siren get captured by their arch-rival. Whilst the Green Lantern stumbles upon a sordid secret about 'The Guild' that shatters his dreams to smithereens.

Still, I suppose that is why what next transpires is one for the four-colour funnies. Right? As naughty men take a dive - illusions yearn to stay alive - mascots go on the turn - and memories finally crash and burn.




THE REVIEW:
Now at the very end of 'Justice League - Legends', their is a caption that dedicates this cartoon to a Mister Gardner Fox. OK, I am sure that some of you out there in cyber-space might be wondering who this man is, correct? Well, Gardner was one of the pioneers in DC Comics from back in day, and without him, it is pretty safe to say that their would be no Justice League, no Justice Society, no Golden Age, no Silver Age, and no Bronze age of comic books either. Heck, I'd even wager that if it wasn't for Mr Fox's foresight, 'team-ups' would have taken a lot longer to gestate in the colorful world of superheroes too.


Gardner Fox Art


Hey! While I am on the subject of 'team-ups', let me splurge some trivia about some of the strangest celebrity team-ups the heroes of the DCU were ever involved with. (1) In the late nineteen-forties DC Comics helped to promote the 'Citizen Kane' actor / director, Orson Welles, by inserting him into an issue of Superman where he gives the last son of Krypton a hand with 'Black Magic in Mars'. (2) Woody Allen made his comic book debut in 1967, where he appeared with 'The Inferior Five' in an issue of Showcase. (3) The legendary comic book creator, Jack Kirby, included legendary king of the insults, Don Rickles, in two issues of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olson. (4) In 2004 the 'Outsiders' received a special visitor when 'America’s Most Wanted' host, John Walsh, helped them track down a runaway. (5) There were a number of prestige format books in the nineties where Batman co-starred with Marylyn Monroe, Houdini, Elliot Ness, Jack the Ripper, Dracula, and an apparition of Bruce Lee. (6) When Mort Weisinger became the Superman group editor in the nineteen-sixties, the Man of Steel had a number of celebrity cameos appearing within his books. Such as President John F. Kennedy, comedian Steve Allen, the host of 'This Is Your Life' Ralph Edwards, plus there was a tie-in with 'Candid Camera' too. (7) The Justice League teamed-up with the characters from the 'Looney Tunes' universe, within the mini-series labelled, 'Superman and Bugs Bunny'. (8) Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane, did a duet with the musician, Pat Boone, in a 1959 issue of her very own comic book. (9) In the early-sixties, the fab-four, the Beatles, featured in an issue of 'Batman' with the dynamic-duo, Batman and Robin.


BBatman and the Beatles  James Walsh in the Walsh


OK. I know. I have to calm down on my trivia splurges, don't I? Or else I may not have enough time to review this class-cartoon, 'Justice League - Legends'.

However, whilst saying that, I am not too sure if I can actually review this piece. I'm biased. I'm enraptured by Golden Age folklore. And I just can not bring myself to say anything bad about this smashing escapade!

Well, maybe one thing. 'The Justice Guild' was obviously a homage to the 'Justice Society Of America', so I would have preferred them in this animatic-adventure much more than a bunch of colourful facsimiles. Nonetheless, apart from that little gripe, this flick was just super.


Justice League Legends Cartoon


For example: (1) The cheese-ball tone of this tale was very apt to convey what the fifties 'hey-day' of comic books was really all about. (2) The inclusion of John Steward being the hero who read comic's back in the day, harked back to Barry Allen doing the same thing when he met his Golden age counterpart, the Flash. (3) The pastiche's within this piece was a blast to piece together. Obviously the Streak, the Green Guardsman, Black Siren, Catman, and Tom Turbine, was meant to be the Jay Garrick Flash, the Alan Scott Green Lantern, Black Canary, Wildcat, and Mister Terrific respectively.  Plus I am hundred percent positive that the Magician, Fiddle-Sticks, Doctor Blizzard, and Sports Master were supposed to represent Sargon the Sorcerer, the Fiddler, Killer Frost, and...errr... Sports Master too. (4) The design of 'the Guilds' logo made me smile because it was the same as the old JSA logo. (5) How the Flash and Hawkgirl slyly commented on 'the Guilds' cheesy manner was a real hoot for me, because it showed the juxtaposition of the 'simplistic old' compared to the 'cynical new'. (6) This was an uncomplicated story that followed a very similar pattern of an old JLA / JSA team up tales. Heroes meet - Heroes clash - Heroes team-up - Heroes save the day. However, the twist at the end of this yarn gave it that very modernistic twist that I like a lot. 

Overall 'Justice League - Legends' is a great-great-great cartoon to watch. It's shows pathos. It harks back to simpler times. Plus it has a way about it that is just a blast to follow from beginning to end. Wouldn't you agree JSA?




Cool!

THE RATING: A