Secret Origins | Episode 1

Aired: November 17, 2001
Heroes: Batman, Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman and J'onn Jonzz
Supporting: J Allen Carter, General Wells, Sroya Bashir, Snapper Carr and Hippolyta
Villains: The Invaders
Objects: Utility Belt (Bola, Batarang, Grappling Gun, and Flashlight), Superman Wrist Watch, Batwing, and Eiffel Tower
Places: Mars, Wayne Tech, Metropolis, World Assembly, Central City, STAR Labs, Daily Planet, Paris, Egypt, Malaysia, and Themyscira
Beasts: Imperium Beast
Written By: Rich Fogel
Directed By: Dan Riba

Secret Origins | Episode 2

Aired: November 17, 2001
Heroes: Wonder Woman, Superman, J'onn Jonzz, Batman, Green Lantern, Hawkgril and Flash
Supporting: Snapper Carr, General Wells and J Allen Carter
Villains: The Invaders
Objects: Utility Belt (Exploding Batarang, Batarang, Grappling Gun, and Electric Knuckle), Batwing, Power Ring, Nth Metal, and Lasso of Truth
Places: Mars, Metropolis, Egypt, Malaysia, and Themyscira
Written By: Rich Fogel
Directed By: Butch Lukic

Secret Origins | Episode 3

Aired: November 17, 2001
Heroes: Wonder Woman, J'onn Jonzz, Green Lantern, Flash, Superman, Hawkgirl and Batman
Supporting: Snapper Carr, J Allen Carter and General Wells
Villains: The Invaders and the Imperium
Objects: Lasso of Truth, Power Ring, Utility Belt (Explosive Charge, Hacking Device, Grappling Gun, and Blowtorch), and Nth Metal
Places: Metropolis, Wayne Tech, World Assembly, Daily Planet, Batcave, and Justice League Watchtower
Written By: Rich Fogel
Directed By: Dan Riba


Summary written by VortexInfinite

The premiere episode opens with two astronauts on Mars's surface. When one of them, J. Allen Carter, stupidly chisels at what must have been a very interesting rock, he falls in a deep hole which rests above an ancient door. Behind it is one of the greatest evils in the universe.

Fast forward two years later in Metropolis, where Batman is investigating some suspicious activities in one of Bruce Wayne's labs. He soon discovers that the people on his pay roll are not exactly what they portray themselves to be on their resumes. They're actually hostile, shape shifting aliens who are obstructing the space monitoring system while reinforcements arrive.

The reinforcements arrive with their full destructive wrath. No one can stop them. National defenses have only recently been dismantled by Superman at the request of (now-Senator) J. Allen Carter and the United Nations. The only obstacle between the invaders and world domination is the Man of Steel himself. But a few battles make it clear who has the advantage.

While unconscious, Superman receives telepathic visions. Left with no other resort, he (with Batman in tow) follows them to an army facility where the last martian, J'onn J'onnz, is being held captive. Trying to escape from a troop of invaders, Superman, Batman, and J'onn meet with Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Wonder Woman (referred to as "the rookie in the tiara" by GL). All were telepathically summoned by J'onnz to fight the global threat of the invasion.

The Martian Manhunter explains how the invaders struck before on his home planet. They took over the entire Martian race until only a few survivors remained. Together, these survivors paralyzed the aliens, preventing them from expanding to other innocent planets. Unfortunately, only J'onn J'onnz survived and when curious Carter opened the doorway he was forced to speed toward Earth and warn the humans. Of course, humans are more interested in prodding and studying Martians rather than listening to them.

Time begins to run out as the invaders' leader, the Imperium, rushes toward Earth to seal the deal. Earth's heroes begin to fall and Batman is the first casualty. The aliens' only weakness, sunlight, is eliminated by their technology rendering Superman powerless. He and Hawkgirl are captured, forcing J'onn and the others to rush in to save them. They end up captured in time for the Imperium's arrival (he looks remarkably like a rotten jellybean). Things are at their darkest when Batman makes a surprise appearance, reverse the invaders' equipment, and obliterates the perpetual darkness.

One by one, the heroes are freed and they take down the invaders. The few who survive run far, far away from Earth. Realizing their potential as a team, the seven legends agree to form a coalition to protect the globe. They call it the Justice League and the rest, as they say, is history.


Review written by VortexInfinite

Alien invaders would be an unforgivable plot in any other episode. But since this is a premiere, an homage to the Silver Age incarnation is acceptable. Unfortunately, as a result of the cliched story idea, the episode easily falls into some pretty obvious traps.

The biggest problem would be characterization, or rather lack thereof. We don't get to see what the aliens do when they're not battling superheroes. Not that they have much personality. They're just mindless drones with nothing to separate them from your typical evil alien. With the exception of Carter, who has a nice speech at the end, the invaders are the definition of generic. The Imperium itself is creepy-looking, but not creepy-sounding...it has a kindly grandfather voice.

The heroes aren't completely fleshed out either. We learn J'onn's origin and see glimpses of Diana's home, Paradise Island, but that's it. Granted, we've seen enough Superman and Batman in their own shows, but what about GL, Flash, and Hawkgirl? As a result of the convenient "psychic call" we get no back story for some of our new characters. Flash and Hawkgirl are short-changed for the whole season. A gradual introduction to the heroes would have been more effective than a random meet-up.

However, we are treated to some excellent interaction among the heroes once they get together. Batman and Superman have developed a relationship full of competition and wit (Batman asks if Clark is going to receive "another key to the city.") John Stewart, the strict, by-the-book Green Lantern, is a good foil for the young, quick-mouthed Flash. Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl impress their male counterparts with their ferocity in battle. As a focus on heroes, Secret Origins is a great success.

Animation was okay, but not outstanding. There were some awkward moments, but for the most part it was better than a lot of cartoons out there today. Music was great throughout. The perfect blend of classic suspense, disaster, and heroic tones. But the standout technical aspect would be voice work. It sets a standard that only gets better throughout the series. George Newbern has always done well as Superman, despite what some may say, and Carl Lumbly (Martian Manhunter) gave a performance that he has only matched in "A Knight of Shadows."

Overall, it was great fun to see the pilot. Yes, it has flaws and it wouldn't be half as good if it were a normal episode, but the epic feel of seeing Earth's mightiest heroes ban together for the first time is just what makes this special. Bottom line: If you remotely enjoyed this episode, you will love the whole series. It just gets better from here.