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When Justice League: The Animated Series Gave Us John Stewart's Blackest Night

Welcome to the fifty-first edition of Adventure(s) Time, a look back at animated heroes of the past.  In this installment, the focus will turn to John Stewart, the animated Justice League's Green Lantern. We'll open with the first episodes to give John the focus. Then, we'll look at how the comics tie-in portrayed this iteration of the Green Lantern.

Airing on November 19th and 26th 2001, "In Blackest Night" is the first pair of "regular" episodes to air following the three-part debut. Justice League distinguished itself from previous DC Animated Universe programs by making every story, at a minimum, a two-part episode. Nominally to give the series a more grandiose feel, but also to save money on production costs. With both episodes using many of the same character models and backgrounds, the animators had fewer obstacles to tackle and the budget was given some relief.

An issue with the first Justice League season was the producers' transition from solo protagonists to an entire team of heroes. One way they eased into the change was to do episodes centering on a specific hero, while playing the rest of the League as a supporting cast. John Stewart is the first Leaguer to receive this honor, in a story that begins with him visiting his old neighborhood. John stops petty crimes, reunites with his high school history teacher, and receives a bit of public adulation.

RELATED: Mark Hamill Joins the Call for a Justice League Unlimited Reunion Movie

Elsewhere, on the planet Ajuris 5, a tribunal of alien judges has sent the robotic Manhunters to apprehend John Stewart. They confront John on Earth, the League is drawn into the action, and John stuns everyone by agreeing to accompany the Manhunters into space.

Mystified, the League follows John and, against his wishes, observes the trial. The space pirate Kanjar-Ro testifies he witnessed a stray blast from John hit a vulnerable portion of the planet Ajuris 4's crust. The resulting explosion destroyed the planet, taking three billion lives. John puts up no defense, stunning his teammates by revealing the allegation is true.

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