DVD REVIEW: Justice League Unlimited - Joining Forces

This 3-episode DVD probably contains the best of the series so far. The first episode, entitled “For the Man who has Everything” is so poignant you might cry if you forget you're watching a cartoon. The second ep “The Return” is one of the most suspenseful and action-packed stories yet. And the last ep, “The Greatest Story Never Told”, featuring a minor character, is one of the funniest the series has produced. Here’re the details...
Episode 1 - For the Man who has Everything
The evil yellow alien, Mongul, surprises Superman on his Birthday, in Supe's very own Fortress of Solitude no less, with a gift that keeps on giving. It’s an alien plant parasite called a "The Black Mercy" that, when attached, telepathically interprets the hosts fondest dreams and feeds a simulation of them back to the unlucky victim. Fortunately, Wonder Woman and Batman make a surprise visit in WW’s invisible jet to drop off their presents and discover the catatonic Kal-El with the purplish plant upon him. As Bats tries to get it off, WW searches the Fortress of Solitude only to be ambushed by Mongul. We get a glimpse of Superman’s plant fed delusion at this point. Superman's heart's desire is to live a normal life on a pre-exploded Krypton with a red-headed Lois Lane and son Van-El--not to mention Gramps Jor-El and a non-house trained ex-super dog Krypto. While Bats and WW are desparately fighting for their lives with Mongul, pet doggy Krypto is crapping on the kitchen floor in Supe’s mind. The episode has some really poignant moments. Especially when, as Batman is prying the evil plant off of Superman, and beginning to get through to Supe’s mind, the Kal-El of the delusion is telling his son that he doesn't believe he's real. All this as Krypton is blowing up again around the embracing Father and son, signifying Superman's escape from the fantasy in his own mind. Of course, as Bats rips the plant off Superman, it attaches itself to him. Switch scenes now to a theater alley and young Bruce Wayne watching his Father beat up the criminal that murdered his Parents in the real world history. An enraged Superman beats the living tar out of Mongul, and WW ends up transferring the psychic plant friend from Batman to Mongul.

Episode 2 – “The Return”
Professor Ivo’s Android, AMAZO, makes his return to Earth to seek out the meaning of life from Lex Luthor. Fearing that the powerful android has come to exact revenge on Luthor instead, the JLU team pulls out all the stops to prevent his return to Earth. See the whole Green Lantern Corps in this episode, plus some sweet DC super characters not yet glimpsed in the series. Heavily utilized are The Atom, and Steel. This episode really shows off the new half-hour format, with a tightly-plotted story that has both epic action and strong characterizations. Toss in some surprise cameos and appearances with more great animation, and you have another winner.

Episode 3 – “The Greatest Story Never Told”
While the League has an epic battle in downtown Metropolis, c-list glory hound Booster Gold learns what it means to be a true hero. A light-hearted comedy episode well executed and providing tons of laughs—several of them coming from the on-going joke that Booster keeps being mistaken for Green Lantern.

Another one for the DVD Library! You can buy it here.
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