Justice League the animated series was born out of the DCAU and the success of shows on Fox Kids and Kids WB. I mentioned when I reviewed the intro that in my opinion the same strong stories and tightly followed world was great for the show but unlike previous versions of the Justice League Of America it didn’t really draw you to the DC universe to learn more. Everything was right there, so its greatest strength was also its greatest weakness. In all the incarnations however (Superfriends still being the longest running), there are of course ideas that didn’t come together. Before the show you know, there was another attempt at a Justice League cartoon.

In a pilot video called “The First Mission”, Bruce Timm and his team produced a proof of concept for a different team. I don’t know if they wanted to shoot for hour long stories as they attempted with Cartoon Network but there are a few matching elements and a few that they thought would be a good fit for Kids WB. (Interestingly Justice League Unlimited would end up on the CW’s Saturday morning lineup.) In the following video a host sits down with Bruce Timm and co-producer James Tucker to discuss the history of this alternate take on the Justice League and see the pilot itself. I have to wonder though…would this version have worked?

First off I like the art style. Batman’s flying footage may be from elsewhere but we do see him at the end. I’ve never gotten into the oval myself but it looked okay there. Robin on the other hand, and I’m only guessing it’s going to be the DCAU version of Tim Drake with Jason Todd flavoring, has a costume more in-line with Tim’s cool Robin costume from the comics, which Dick Grayson was given for Batman: The Animated Series and various pre-Kids WB continuations. I like it.

Superman is certainly different in design, with a chin less pronounced than he had before and after. Frankly I wasn’t a fan of the exaggerated chin in the Timm design so that’s a welcome change. I really don’t notice a huge difference in Wonder Woman like they were talking about though. Martian Manhunter looks a lot different compared to what we ended up with. Honestly, John Steward does look odd in the Green Lantern mask, and his decision not to wear one did come from the comics.

Lex going back to his criminal scientist motif is something this oldskool Superman fan is happy to see and that is close to the costume he would use in the Justice League cartoons we got. For some reason he reminds me more of Graft from Phantom 2040. I’m not sure he needs the scar though. Otherwise, and he did mention “Copperhead” was taken from one of the snake-DNA “splicers” from Batman Beyond and thus way different from how he appeared on the show–and frankly they should have used this one in my opinion–, the other villains just look like the DCAU design in a style looks closer to later season Static Shock, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Thank Batman Beyond for the Justice League apparently.

As for the three kids, I’m not against younger heroes learning from the Justice League. Sure it could be because I grew up with Zan and Jayna, but I also grew up with reruns with Wendy and Marvin and I think that was a mistake. Seeing young heroes learning from the more experienced heroes would help with lessons for the kid audience, as this was intended for Saturday mornings and if you can convince the parent groups kids are learning they back off a bit. Robin, especially if they did go with DCAU Tim, is an obvious choice, but I don’t think having Impulse means not having the Flash. Superman’s fast but he’s not going to be the best choice to train an actual speedster, plus this would mean Wally might never get to appear again after the Filmation series unless this altered timeline still includes the Young Justice series and they still used Kid Flash with the regular Wally.

Gender swapped Cyborg, who I’m going to call Cyberina and treat her the same way Artemis was in Young Justice as an original new character, would be a nice addition, but why not Wonder Girl, Starfire, or any of the other girls who served in the Teen Titans? Super Powers Team, the last season incarnation of Superfriends, had planned to spin off a Teen Titans series that would have included Raven and Starfire, though the recent video by Owen Likes Comics on this series did mention they had wanted to do a Teen Titans at this time too. I’m guessing Cyborg would have been part of that team, but with Robin here, would Nightwing be part of the Titans even though he should be in his twenties by that point, having graduated from college in the Sub-Zero direct to video movie? Ooooh, maybe the Protector could have taken his spot then as well. Then more people could have shared my pain when Tom King destroyed the character. At least it would mean Cyborg wouldn’t be shoved into the Justice League until Geoff Johns shoved him into the New 52 League because he literally couldn’t think of another token black man to put in there. Cyborg is a Titan, not a Leaguer. Please stop putting him into both because it’s confusing.

Personally I would have liked to have seen this version of the Justice League come out, but I certainly have nothing against the show we got. It was still a good series, but I’m sad we didn’t get to see what this show would have been like. Maybe they could make a TV or DTV movie for it? I know, DC doesn’t do anything for kids anymore, but I’d like to see that happen, too. Owen’s video also showed one piece of test art with still another line-up and I wouldn’t mind hearing more about that one if there’s anything else to tell.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

One response »

  1. […] asked for changes and we ended up with “Where No Man’s Gone Before”. We also saw a pilot for Justice League yesterday that ended up not being used. Well, add to that list Mighty Morphin’ Power […]

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