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Justice League Unlimited
The Once and Future Thing, Part 2

Original Airdate - 01/29/05

This week's episode not only brings last week's time traveling plotline to a close, but also caps off the first season of Justice League Unlimited.

Having chased Chronos into the future, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Batman find themselves smack dab in the middle of a crossover with Batman Beyond and Static Shock.

They meet up with future Batman Terry McGinnis, Warhawk (revealed to be the son of Green Lantern and a certain winged JLU member), Static Shock (who has met Green Lantern in a cross over from his own show) and eventually a future version of Bruce Wayne.

Together the makeshift Justice League fight Jokerz and Chronos for control of the future, while the time stream itself phases different heroes in and out of reality.

TO&FT wasn't a bad episode, but it didn't reach its full potential. It's not every day that Batman gets to meet not only his future self, but also the man that carries on the Batman mantle. Likewise, Green Lantern and his son spend little time getting to know each other. Those are both major events in the WB:JLU universe and yet almost no time is spent exploring them.

There are good moments, Hal Jordan's appearance being the highlight, but things wrap up too quickly and too neatly for my taste. Time travel stories are never that tidy.

Surprisingly, the ongoing government conspiracy plotline isn't wrapped up here. Guess we will have to wait to see what develops in season four, starting next weekend.

Derek's Continuity Corner

Almost none of the future Justice League Unlimited members have comic book antecedents, though they have appeared before. As you might have guessed, it was on a two-part episode of Batman Beyond, the toy-line driven show that turned out to be actually really good. (As opposed to the current The Batman, for which we have ever-dwindling hope that it will be worthwhile.) That series also established the Jokerz, a gang worshipping the original (and assumed dead) Joker. To see the clown prince of crime's ultimate fate, rent or buy the Batman Beyond - Return of the Joker DVD.

In the future League's first appearance, Static was not a member; that promise was set up on an episode of Static Shock! However, Warhawk was there, though it's doubtful that Bruce Timm had plans for him to tie so tightly into Justice League continuity -- that show had not yet made it off the drawing board. He definitely followed the Thanagarian code. The closest parallel he has in comics would perhaps be the children of Katar and Shayera Hol that appeared in The Dark Knight Strikes Again, savage children hellbent on revenge against Lex Luthor.

The DCU has not explored the League's near-future descendants very much, though a recent arc in Teen Titans hints at a League made up of today's teen heroes turned fascist. There is a League in the 857th Century, as told in the event DC 1,000,000. And, of course, in the 31st Century we have the Legion of Super-Heroes, three members of whom appeared in Superman: The Animated Series.

Michael Goodson

 

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