After the horrendous reboots of “Powerpuff Girls” and “Teen Titans,” I had zero expectations for “Justice League Action.” Thankfully after sitting through its hour long premiere that combines various eleven minute episodes in to one small movie, I’m happy that it ends up being an entertaining series. It has potential to be a really great reboot that plays well in its eleven minute format, and all in one big marathon. After the bleak and dark material DC and Warner has embraced over the last five years, “Justice League Action” is aimed toward kids and it’s so much brighter and lighter in tone than the previous “Justice League” series by Bruce Timm. That show will always have a place in my heart, but “Action” is strictly for kids, continuing the tradition of “Batman: Brave and the Bold” by adhering to an aesthetic that’s fast paced, bright, fun, and bereft of the bigger complexities.
I would argue for the complexity and unique energy from the original series by Timm, but right now “Justice League Action” is really what we need. It not only acts as a gateway for potential comic book geeks out there, but it’s pretty damn fun. The first arc for “Justice League Action” is centered around Shazam!, which makes perfect sense. Shazam! is a god like superhero who is invoked by a small boy named Billy Batson. The writers make a great jump forward by appealing to their target audience by focusing on a child superhero. From there, Batman is involved with helping Shazam and stopping the wizard who holds his powers as he is chased by villainous Black Adam. After stopping Black Adam, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman realize that a small group of demons have arrived on Earth and are seeking to unearth Black Adam who was sent in to a prehistoric time. They hope to unearth a volcano where he dormant.
From there, the group goes on various adventures fighting the demonic Djinns, all of whom have their own unique powers. Superman and Wonder Woman are tasked with fighting a molten Djinn who has the ability to suck superpowers after colliding with Parasite. Meanwhile Batman battles a Djinn that takes his identity and infiltrates the Hall of Justice. All the episodes have their own distinct flavor, and though they move at a breakneck speed, they pack in some great fun. Everyone gets their own spotlights in, and there are animated introductions of some more obscure League members. We get to see Plastic Man, Swamp Thing, Constantine, and Booster Gold. The biggest surprise appearances are Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter, both of whom are residing in hit live action series, and DC/Warner are usually very militant about keeping them confined to one medium.
That said, the animation isn’t always great, and it can sometimes look clumsy and fairy simplistic. Thankfully it’s not as simplistic as “Teen Titans Go!” The audience for this series is the 11-13 demographic of boys and girls, but it still packs in some fun nods for older fans. Kevin Conroy is back as Batman, Mark Hamill is back as Joker, and Gilbert Gottfried returns as Mr. Mxyzptlk. “Justice League Action” has won me over so far, and I hope it continues as a short but action packed series of Justice League adventures.
Airing on Cartoon Network. Check Local Listings.