The Justice League discovers the terrible truth behind the Justice Guild and their world. As much as I enjoyed the first part of “Legends”, the second part truly astounded me. Though “Justice League” had a very rocky first season, “Legends” was one of the few episodes of the first season that still grabs hold of viewers today. The episode is a fine example of the show’s creative storytelling and rich character development. The story is well structured and delivers one surprising twist. There is also a good balance of drama, action and humor. Green Lantern becomes quite heart broken upon discovering the serious truth behind this strange alternate universe. It’s hard to forget those who had a profound effect in our lives. I was amazed to the revelation of the mastermind behind this great deception. The collapse of this comic book reality and the Justice Guild was a very emotional and well executed scene.
Hawkgirl meets GL and Martian Manhunter back at the Justice Guild headquarters, and tells them about the graves. GL refuses to believe it, and flies away.
Hawkgirl meets him at the grave, and GL accepts the fact that they are dead. Now, the two of them start to look for some answers.
Meanwhile the Flash and Black Siren are still fighting a Mr. Freeze-like villian. Flash had the advantage, until a runaway TNT truck threatened to crash into a bus full of nuns. Flash saved the nuns from the truck, but as soon as he turned around, the villian froze him along with Black Siren.
The four villians meet back at their lair, arguing about who stole the best item. They agree that the Mr. Freeze-like villian has the best prize, for he has captured the Flash and Black Siren.
Meanwhile, GL and Hawkgirl are searching the town for anwers. They interrogate an ice cream truck driver, who they noticed never stops. He gets nervous and tells them that HE might hear them and that he can't say anyone. Then he speeds away.
This makes GL and Hawkgirl even more curious. They go to the library, only to find that all of the books are blank. When they decide to go to the basement to check the newspaper archives, they are met with a brick wall.
Hawkgirl smashes through it, and they find a subway accident. An old newspaper gives them some real answers. It was published forty years ago, the last day a Justice Guild comic book was published. It tells them that the Justice Guild died in a nuclear war.
The Justice Guild saves the Flash and Black Siren after a short battle. They meet Hawkgirl and GL back at the Justice Guild headquarters.
Hawkgirl and Green Lantern confront them and show them the newspaper. They tell them that nothing in this town makes sense. Hawkgirl adds that danger springs up whenever someone gets too close to the truth, just as a giant robot starts attacking the town.
Martian Manhunter suggests that they ask Ray. (a little tag-along kid who has been there throughout the episode)He uses is psychic powers to reveal Ray's true form. Ray is really the source of all of these illusions.
The war had mutated Ray's DNA, giving him psychic powers, allowing him to create illusions and re-shape reality. He chose to resurrect the heros he worshiped as a child.
With the help from the Justice Guild, the League defeats Ray. The entire reality fades, and so does the Guild. Much to the League's surprise, all of the people in the town were real, they had just been under Ray's hold.
The League finds Tom Turbine's machine to get them back to their world. GL powers it with his ring and they are able to get back to their reality.
The episode ends with GL mourning over the deaths of the Justice Guild. He tells Hawkgirl that it's stupid to feel like this. She said that they gave their lives for them and it was real enough for her.
This may be the first little hint there is something going on beteen Hawkgirl and Green Lantern. Great charater development.
The second part of this two part story opens with the villains openly boasting that they'll prove their mettle by pulling off crimes at the behest of the heroes opposing them. From here, the episode quickly moves through fairly standard battle scenes ( though depicting the villains using a blimp(!) was a nice touch. However, the viewer also concludes that everything they see is an illusion on some grand scale perpetrated by a non assuming character lurking in the background.
For people watching this episode, there are many things going on to hold their attention. For the kids, they'll appreciate the humorous stylings of the villains and their plots to achieve their goals. The young at heart crowd would appreciate the sight of two group of heroes teaming up to fight a common menace that has been shown many times in the comics of the past.
For myself, the real high point of this episode is when the members of the Justice Guild realize the truth even as they watch the Justice League members battling for their lives against the menace responsible for their illusionary existence. The Justice Guild decide, with only a brief moment of hesitation, to take on the menace as well even if it costs them their current existance....which it does.
This one moment speaks volumes about the characters depicted in this episode. For myself, it shows that though they weren't real, the Guild's members still upheld the values they had when they did exist. It's not often that you see the issue of death dealt with realistically in a cartoon but this episode tries to do so in a context that is both direct and noble.
Though it might be easy to dismiss this episode due to the hokey dialogue and such, it would do the writing and style of it a great disservice. Truly, an episode that can be pondered, and appreciated, in many ways.
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