2. JUSTICE LEAGUE/JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (Cartoon Network, 2001-2006)
After working on superhero royalty such as Batman and Superman, Bruce Timm embarked on his most ambitious animated series ever at Warner Brothers, Justice League. Teaming up some of DC’s heaviest hitters, such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, along with lesser-known characters like the Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl, Justice League explored the comic book mythology more thoroughly than any other animated show before it.
Featuring stories ripped straight from the comics, as well as some original material, Bruce Timm and a stable of writers presented rich characterizations, emotional stories, and a metric ton of over-the-top action in a way that most cartoons couldn’t compete with. But after two seasons of Justice League, the show was reformatted into Justice League Unlimited, which featured shorter episodes and more superhero cameos.
The result was even better than the original, as Timm and writer Dwayne McDuffie gave fans an epic, season-long story that questioned the League’s place in the world and whether or not their powers had grown out of control. This first season of Unlimited isn’t just the best Justice League cartoon ever; it’s the best Justice League story ever, period.