Justice League ran from 2001 to 2004 and gave the world 52 glorious episodes. And you know what? They hold up! Seeing as John Stewart was a recent character of the month, we thought that was the perfect excuse to watch the animated show's two seasons all over again. After all, the show created countless John Stewart fans. The cosmic hero gets a whole lot of love in the series and he has some standout moments in episodes like "War World," "Legends," and "Metamorphosis," but we're going to highlight what we consider to be the dude's must watch episodes. If your favorite one isn't below, go ahead and give it some love in the comments.
Secret Origins: Part 2 (Season 1, Episode 2)
"Who's the rookie in the tiara?"
John Stewart makes an awesome first appearance in this animated world. I mean, it doesn't get much better than saving Batman and Martian Manhunter during your big debut, right? After that, he goes on to save Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, and Flash. Not shabby, yeah? The team would be in major trouble if he wasn't there to shield them from danger. Sure, Flash later returns the favor and needs to save G.L., but hey, no one's perfect. It's not the most emotional and compelling debut around, but it sure is awesome and he steps up to organize the team.
In the Blackest Night (Season 1, Episodes 4 & 5)
"We solved our lawyer problem a long time ago."
These two sci-fi heavy episodes take us into all of the surreal things going on out in the universe and these events show us just how strong John's character really is. When faced with a serious criminal charge and the punishment is the death penalty, many people would do everything they could to avoid that fate. John, though? He legitimately believes he's done something wrong and will accept whatever punishment is sent his way. He doesn't beg to find another way out of it; he doesn't lie in an attempt to save himself. He stands tall and is willing to accept whatever happens. That takes courage.
Before we go into space court (totally not what it's called, but you get what I mean), the sci-fi heavy-story gives us some really strong scenes back on our little planet. John possesses great power -- power which can be used to save the planet -- but he doesn't let that get to his head. He uses what he has to stop a simple robbery and spends some time back where he grew up. (Seeing a kid admire him and want the same haircut is adorable.) Then, we get some craziness as Manhunters get into an explosive brawl with Johns' allies. It's a fun dose of character and action before leaping into the bigger picture that'll take place out in the cosmos. And, of course, it concludes with a massive action sequence, one which gives Stewart plenty of room to shine and he saves Flash not once, but twice! Plus, seeing Hawkgirl stand up for John and get into a brawl with his fellow Green Lanterns was a blast and a little nod to the close relationship those two will soon have. If you know where their story takes them, it's pretty heartwarming to see she's already fighting for him. I mean, odds are she'd do the same for any of her teammates, but this path leads somewhere far more moving.
Hearts and Minds (Season 2, Episodes 9 & 10)
"You sound like an old married couple."
The introduction of Despero generates a story that gives us yet another look at the Green Lantern Corps while also teasing the tension between Hawkgirl and Stewart. The introduction of Katma gives us a little more insight into Stewart's history and really pushes him as he's left unable to use his ring. The history between them is most definitely noticed by Hawkgirl, but instead of playing the blatantly obvious and cringeworthy jealousy card, Hawkgirl helps motivate John when he needs it the most. And, even though it's not intentional, she once again motivates him when she's in danger and only he has the power to save her. One thing is clear: they make each other stronger. As always, there's plenty of fun action in here, especially towards the end, and no one will ever forget the "love tap" Hawkgirl gave John after their talk. And who doesn't love a Flash and Kilowog team-up? Their investigation of Stewart's apartment is priceless.
Wild Cards (Season 2, Episodes 21 & 22)
"Is it just me or is there something going on between those two?"
There's plenty of reasons to love these two episodes. From Mark Hamill's delightfully twisted Joker to all of the mayhem with the Royal Flush Gang, "Wild Cards" is a really, really entertaining storyline. If you've seen "Epilogue," then odds are you'll find the focus on Ace to be especially powerful. But all of those reasons begin to fade away as the story reaches its final minutes. That's when things get gripping, emotional, and hugely rewarding. After all of the Han and Leia-ish banter between John and Hawkgirl, the two finally have a beautiful heart-to-heart conversation. It's only fitting the background is gorgeous as these two stop playing around and finally express how they really feel. All concerns that superheroes usually have about relationships are swiftly cast aside and their passion for each other takes over. After so much buildup, these two have their first kiss and it's a wonderful scene.
Comfort and Joy (Season 2, Episode 23)
"Feeling more festive?"
With so many episodes featuring big threats and dire situations, having an episode that's forced purely on fun character dynamics and heartwarming moments is amazingly refreshing. The subplots with Flash and Martian Manhunter are touching and well-written, but this episode is the perfect way to focus on John and Hawkgirl's brand new relationship. They come from different worlds and have totally different interests, but that doesn't stop them from doing what they can to make the other happy. They try their hardest to embrace what the other person loves and the result is two funny, joyous and humanizing scenes. It's an episode that'll put a smile on your face. Honestly, who doesn't want to see a superhero snowball fight?
Starcrossed (Season 2, Episodes 24-26)
"You can kiss my ax."
This 3-episode story arc is the perfect way to end Justice League. It's a huge adventure with high stakes and it gives each character a satisfying amount of the spotlight. But best of all? Hawkgirl and John Stewart's relationship is right in the middle of this epic finale. We won't spoil how it concludes (some people out there are still catching up!), but having Hawkgirl reveal she's a spy and in a relationship with another guy (Hro Talak) was a real jaw-dropper. The story pushes the connection Hawkgirl and John have built and it all ends with an incredibly captivating conversation. Emotional, full of twists, and packed with thrilling action, "Starcrossed" isn't just a must watch for John Stewart fans; it's a must watch for all DC fans.
What's your favorite John Stewart episode of Justice League? If this article does well, we might highlight his best Justice League Unlimited episodes, too!