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REVIEW: Justice League: The Action Starts at Twilight

The new season of "Justice League" kicks off Saturday, July 5th at 10:00 pm. Xum Yukinori provides this look at "Twilight", the two-part opener:

Darkseid wears his battle scars from "Legacy" proudly.

George Newburn conveys the vicious hatred his character has toward his fire-eyed foe.

Batman steals some scenes with stern ferocity (as well as cranky indignity).

"I'm gonna need a longer grapple." The episode pays homage to the civil conflict between the "Bug" society and the gods of Supertown.

J'onn and Hawkgirl share a tender subplot.

Superman's rematch with Darkseid ends disturbingly different than their last battle.

Superman: "You don't know Darkseid like I do."

Batman: "We know he used you. Humiliated you. Brainwashed you. Wound youup like a tin soldier and turned you loose against Earth. Cry me a river!"

"Twilight," the long-awaited "sequel" to the Superman episode "Legacy,"starts the second season of Justice League off with a bang. With plenty ofaction, drama, emotion, and even a few death scenes (off-screen, and partlyoff-screen).

The story revealed thus far involves Darkseid requesting Superman and theJustice League's aid in dealing with a mysterious menace threatening Apokolips.Of course, the plot is much more involved than that, and with the cryptic menacerevealed a mere eight minutes into the episode, I won't go into too much storydetail in this spoiler-free review. Instead I'll focus on what I feel is thehighlight of this episode. Namely, the rematch between Superman and Darkseid inact four.

George Newburn has definitely nailed the portrayal of Superman throughoutthis episode, and definitely conveys the vicious (and I mean vicious) hatred hischaracter has toward his fire-eyed foe. And I think many fans will agree thatSuperman is no longer the "wimp" he appeared to be during much of season one.

Their fight ends dramatically – and disturbingly -- different than theirlast confrontation in "Legacy". We see a frighteningly different side toSuperman's character that we haven't seen before. Though the tension in thisclimactic battle is cleverly balanced by the malicious Darkseid having the lastword.

The other Justice Leaguers have their moments. Batman steals some scenes withstern ferocity (as well as cranky indignity). Wonder Woman's "attack" by theplayfully smug Lightray was completely unexpected. And J'onn shares manytender scenes with Hawkgirl in a subplot that finally starts to delve into herorigins -- and opens the door to a mystery that, I am told, will span throughoutthe second season.

The original title of this episode was "Twilight of the Gods," and I'lladmit that I expected to see more New Gods featured in this story (though thereis one "large cast cameo" pan shot). However, the story does present arespectable nod to the civil conflict between the "Bug" society andthe self-righteous gods of Supertown from the Jack Kirby comic stories.

From the opening space battle to the heartfelt ending, I've enjoyed everyminute of this episode -- despite a few scenes which, compared to the Darkseidepisodes on STAS, could have been a little bigger and with a little moregrandeur (like Darkseid's "Zero Hour" moment in act four). But make nomistake, Justice League is still the best animated series produced onAmerican television today, and "Twilight" brings the second season to asensational start.

Tune in to Cartoon Network at 8:00 p.m. for two hours worth of "Superman: The Animated Series" featuring the man of Steel's confrontations with Darkseid in "Apokolips Now" and "Legacy." Then watch "Twilight" on at 10:00 pm, the first two episode of the new season of "Justice League."

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