Justice League/Justice League: Unlimited is an animated show that ran from 2001 to 2004 revolving around the characters of DC Comics. Although the first two seasons focused on the original Justice League members-- Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, Hawkgirl, and J'onn-- the third season and onward spent episodes on a variety of characters including Vixen, the Huntress, the Black Canary, and Supergirl.
So why should you be interested in this show? For one thing, the women in the show are awesome. And another, there is a wide variety of women over the five seasons, from warriors like Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl to civilians like Lois Lane and Mera to villains like Star Sapphire. And they interact with each other-- sometimes as friends, sometimes as allies, sometimes as enemies.
Below the cut are a list and description of various female characters and why I love them, as well as a list of female-centric episodes and two fanfics you might enjoy!
1. Familiar Faces-- Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl
Wonder Woman: (rehearsing her return speech after leaving Themyscira without her mother's permission) "You look more radiant then ever." No. "Gone, mother? I didn’t go anywhere. I was in my room. Alone. For eight months." Definitely not. "The world was in peril. Would you have me stand by and do nothing?" Hera, give me strength.
-- 1x08-09 "Paradise Lost"
Wonder Woman is amazing, full stop. Not only is she a fierce warrior with incredible strength and amazing fighting skills, but she's also very human, as the above quote reveals. She is not perfect-- she has a temper and finds it difficult to forgive people-- but she knows who she is, and refuses to let anyone change her. Her interactions with other women are always great, from her conversations with Hawkgirl to her friendship with Princess Audrey to her relationship with her mother.
While she comes to appreciate "Man's World" and admit that men aren't entirely useless, she never gives up her beliefs in the strength and glory that is womanhood, and in the Greek pantheon. (The latter is probably helped by the fact that gods like Hades and Hermes show up all the time, something which delights my inner Greek mythology nerd.)
Hawkgirl: Standard interrogation technique. I was bad cop.
Superman: You're always bad cop.
Hawkgirl: Why play against type?
-- 2x15-16 "The Terror Beyond"
Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl are alike in some ways-- they are both warriors from a place of warriors. Hawkgirl, however, is much more cynical than Wonder Woman. She's also very headstrong-- in earlier seasons, she often throws herself headfirst into situations without thinking, much to the irritation of her teammates.
However, Hawkgirl uses her sarcasm to mask her true self-- an alien who's still trying to figure out her place in this world and on the Justice League. She is a very caring, loyal individual when she lets people get close-- her slow, gradual relationship with Green Lantern is one of my favorite things in the show. She's also very upfront about sex and the fact that yes, she's had it and enjoyed it. And without giving away any spoilers, her character arc is amazing!
2. Recurring Women
Do I really need to explain Lois Lane's awesomeness? I mean, she's Lois Lane! Although she is only in a handful of episodes, we get enough scenes to see her greatness. She is willing to say the hard truths to Superman, whether he wants to hear them or not. Even in an alternate universe where Superman is pretty much the dictator of USA and she's on house arrest, Lois is still willing to yell at him and tell him he's being an idiot. Lois is the woman to go to for hard truths.
Mera is queen of Atlantis. Does she sit around while her brother-in-law tries to usurp the throne? Of course not! She sneaks past the guards and frees the Justice League so they can go and find her husband and son. In her brief appearances, Mera is shown to be a strong, confident woman who cares for her family and her kingdom.
Vixen joins the Justice League in the third season. Although many of her episodes revolve around her dating Green Lantern, she is shown to be an awesome individual and an absolute professional. When she and Hawkgirl (Green Lantern's ex) go on a mission together, Vixen doesn't hesitate to risk her own life to protect Hawkgirl and finish the mission. Vixen and Hawkgirl's relationship is great-- they respect each other even if they're both in love with the same man, and they still enjoy each other's company (especially when that means they can make fun of GL).
Huntress is an ex-Justice League member, having had a falling out with the Justice League. Mainly because they wouldn't let her kill the villain who killed her parents. Although she later realizes killing him won't solve anything, she nevertheless doesn't rejoin the League, preferring to be her own solo self. And she is awesome. She's a great fighter without any meta abilities, is confident and a little kinky (although her boyfriend sucks as sexy phone calls, much to her dismay), and has a great semi-friendship with Black Canary.
Black Canary is great. She's confident, she's dedicated to her job, and she doesn't take anyone's crap. When she gets into trouble, you can be sure she can get herself out. That said, she's not arrogant-- if she needs help, she'll ask for it. Again, her semi-friendship with the Huntress is great.
For one thing, I love the fact that Batman has a friend like her who's willing to rag on him and point out that he's human and has feelings. For another, Zatanna's great. Her joy for her job, both as a superheroine and as a magician, can be seen in every scene. She's willing to admit when she's out of her league, but she's loyal and will stick with her friends until the very end.
3. One-Shot Characters but Awesome
Princess Audrey from "Maid of Honor"
Audrey: That was fabulous – I've never seen someone break a helicopter before.
Wonder Woman: It was my first time.
-- 2x07-08 "Maid of Honor"
Audrey is hilarious and great. For a one-shot character, she's extremely well-rounded. At first she is a partygirl who's enjoying the last few days of her freedom before a political marriage. Then, as she becomes friends with Wonder Woman, you see another side-- a girl who loves excitement and men (and maybe women, based on the looks she shares with Wonder Woman), but who's willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of her country. By the end of the two episodes, Audrey has shown herself to be a strong woman who can keep her country afloat.
The nameless civilians in "Fury"
In the episode "Fury," a woman creates a virus that will kill all the men in the world. While this causes understandable chaos, we also see female civilians being awesome-- the EMTs who are doing their jobs without flinching, the firefighters who are combating the flames of various car accidents, all the women who are doing their jobs and being amazing.
4. Women-centric Episodes
After being away from home, Wonder Woman returns home to find Themyscira under seige by an evil sorcerer. This episode is Wonder Woman-centric, and we get to see her interact with her mother, Queen Hippolyta.
The aforementioned episode where a woman's trying to wipe out men entirely. Again a Wonder Woman-centric episode with interactions with her mother, but it also contains this hilarious exchange in which Hawkgirl pretty much says men need to be kept alive for sex:
Hawkgirl: Who wants to live in a world without men?
Wonder Woman: They can't possibly be that essential to your life.
Hawkgirl: (smirks) Don't knock it until you've tried it, Princess.
"Maid of Honor"
The aforementioned episode where Wonder Woman and Princess Audrey of Kasnia bond and enjoy the sights of Paris together. And Wonder Woman and Audrey must thwart the overthrow of Audrey's father and the destruction of her kingdom.
"The Terror Beyond"
A crossover with Lovecraft and a Hawkgirl-centric episode! Hawkgirl's people once worshipped the Old Ones, before they cast the Old Ones and religion aside. Now she must help Earth and some unusual allies fight against these invaders.
The season two finale, which is Hawkgirl-centric. Hawkgirl's people, the Thanagarians come to Earth with a message of an incoming invasion by her world's most-hated enemies.
"This Little Piggy"
Zatanna-centric. When Wonder Woman gets transformed into a pig by an angry Circe, Batman teams up with Zatanna to try and figure out a way to restore Wonder Woman to her true form.
A Supergirl-centric episode, in which Supergirl has disturbing dreams and enlists The Question (who is amazing and hilarious) and Green Arrow's help in figuring them out.
"Wake the Dead"
Hawkgirl-centric, in which an old enemy turned brief ally returns from the dead, and only Hawkgirl can stop him.
"The Cat and the Canary"
As evidenced by the title, a Black Canary episode. When her mentor becomes addicted to illegal fighting, Black Canary enlists Green Arrow's help to get him away from the matches. Black Canary is awesome, and her relationships with Green Arrow and Wildcat are interesting.
Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl-centric. They must team up when a villain usurps Hades's throne and casts him out of Tartarus, upsetting the balance and traumatizing anyone with magic. Great interactions between Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl, and again some nice moments between Wonder Woman and her mother.
Huntress and Black Canary-centric. Huntress is kicked out the League after trying to kill the man who killed her parents, a man who is now in the League's protective custody. She teams up with The Question, and they butt heads with Black Canary and Green Arrow, who have been assigned to protect the mob boss.
Hawkgirl and Vixen-centric. Hawkgirl and Vixen are sent on a mission together by J'onn, although Green Lantern worries because now his current girlfriend and his ex are working together off-world. He shouldn't worry. Hawkgirl and Vixen are professionals. And awesome.
"Shadow of the Hawk"
Hawkgirl-centric. Hawkgirl goes to Egypt with an archaeologist who claims to have found evidence that Thanagarians were on Earth thousands of years ago. However, the archaeologist is not what he seems, and Hawkgirl finds herself in a very odd situation involving obsession and reincarnation.
Female Justice Leaguers-centric! In this one, Black Canary, Huntress, Vixen, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman are being mind-controlled to participate in Metabrawl, and must work together to escape.
"Far From Home"
Supergirl-centric. Supergirl, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow travel to the 31st Century, a battle from which Supergirl is destined never to return.
Hawkgirl-centric. The conclusion of the events begun in "Shadow of the Hawk," where Hawkgirl must confront a man who believes he's her reincarnated lover and must protect herself and Green Lantern from a villain manipulating everyone from behind the scenes.
5. Fanfic Recommendations
But Why do Fools Fall in Love - That is the Question (1217 words) by fresne
Fandom: Justice League & Justice League Unlimited (Cartoons)
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: The Question/Huntress
Characters: The Question - Character, Huntress
Summary: Her garbage was interesting. Extremely interesting. That was the first thing that he noticed about Huntress. Long before he met her. Not Batman interesting, who kept an incinerator in his room and was therefore was an eternal paranoid enigma. Or Wonder Woman interesting in that her trashcan was a Greek urn of unknown manufacture circa 405 BC. Superman’s garbage was somewhat comfortingly boring. But the Huntress, no, her garbage was extremely interesting. In that way, Huntress was interesting. The sort of person who was made up of thirty-two and not thirty-one flavors.
Static (9046 words) by Kasuchi
Fandom: DCU Animated, Justice League Unlimited
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Clark Kent/Lois Lane
Characters: Clark Kent, Lois Lane
Summary: "You haven't forgotten that we're partners, have you?" When Clark gets sent on a round-the-world assignment detail, he and Lois communicate via phonecalls.