Batman will finally join the Justice League and a new Superman will find his way to the Legion of Super Heroes. These were just a couple of the revelations at Friday's two-part panel covering two of the WB's most popular cartoon superhero shows: Legion of Super Heroes and The Batman, both of which will be returning for their next seasons in September.
Legion of Super Heroes
The first panel, which discussed Legion's upcoming second season, included producer James Tucker, director Brandon Vietti, story editor Michael Jelenic, as well a trio of voice talent from the show: Yuri Lowenthal (Superman), Phil Morris (Imperiex), and Alex Polinski (Chameleon Boy). In the latter duo's case, they'll be voicing characters that are new to the series, which in season two will pick up roughly a year after the events of the first season. Polinski's Chameleon Boy will be a new member of the team, a manipulating, comical character Tucker described as "Eddie Haskell as a shape-shifter."
Imperiex, a villain that Tucker and the rest of the panel admitted was pretty lame in the old Legion comic books, has been given a reboot and will be the major foe for the Legion in the second season. Though he won't be featured in every episode, the Legion's battle against Imperiex will form the major structure of the second season. As Tucker put it, the team behind Legion likened the first season to a "Silver Age" tale, "kind of charming, but not very intense." The second season, then, is meant more as a "Bronze Age" story, with a slightly older skewing storyline and more action.
Along with the new villain, a new Superman will throw in another layer of complexity to the already huge cast. This Superman will be from the far-flung future, and unlike the Superman we know and love, this alternate Superman will be much more rigid and warlike. In a storyline that echoes last season's storyline of the Legion traveling into the past to teach Clark Kent about his powers, this season, the Legion will meet up with the alternate future Superman (no name was revealed for the new character during the panel) and will, in the process, attempt to teach him to be a better person and a better hero. Lowenthal will be voicing the new Superman and said he was excited to tackle the new character. He also hinted that in one episode he'll actually be playing three Supermen. No further details were given, much to the chagrin of the spoiler-hungry audience.
Other characters due to make appearances in season two include Dreamgirl, Nemesis Kid, Karate Kid, Invisible kid, and Dawnstar.
Recently nominated for its fourth Emmy award this spring, Kids' WB's The Batman is entering its fifth season and will be introducing a whole new emphasis of teamwork in this season, thanks to Batman joining the Justice League of America in the previous season's finale. On hand at the Comic-Con panel was series director/producer Michael Goguen, writers Alan Burnett and Stan Berkowitz, and voice casting head Andrea Romano.
Though the Batman in previous seasons has been a loner, this season will follow the Caped Crusader as he learns to adjust to his role in the JLA. His natural leadership tendencies will play a big role in the series. As Goguen put it, "There's always been a plan to introduce Batman to the Justice League. This is our team-up season." Indeed, eight of the 13 episodes will include team-ups between Batman and other JLA members.
"[Batman] is involved now," said Burnett. "He started out as a loner, but he's a natural leader, he tends to take control. People gravitate toward him because he always has the plan. You'll see him working individually with all the heroes." Burnett also mentioned a huge finale with the entire JLA working together. "He embraces the other characters, and realizes he needs help and that they need his help."
The season premiere will find Gotham rebuilding from the destruction it suffered in the previous season. Superman will be a major player in the two-part premiere, though in this version of the events, Superman won't be a member of the JLA yet. On the voice-casting front, Dana Delany will reprise her role as Lois Lane in the series, with George Newbern taking up the cape as Superman (or at least his voice). In addition, notable voice acting talent for season five will include Lou Gosset Jr. as Lucius Fox, Jerry O'Connel as Nightwing, Dan Castellaneta as Scarface, and Ratatouille star Patton Oswalt as the voice of Marty Slack.
Heroes on hand in this season will be The Flash (though it won't be officially revealed, Burnett said it will be the Barry Allen version), Hal Jordan's Green Lantern, and Oliver Queen's Green Arrow. In fact, the Green Arrow script will be an original tale of how Queen became the masterful bowman. A partial list of villains slated to appear in the season include Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, the Joker, and Harley Quinn, as well as such JLA villains as Sinestro, Black Mask, Scarface, and the Injustice Gang.
The second season of Legion of Super Heroes and the fifth season of The Batman are both due to premiere on September 22.