The latest of DC’s projects gets released this February 28th on DVD and Blu-Ray and it’s the 13th animated movie of the Justice League series is ominously titled Justice League Doom, from writer Dwayne McDuffie.
So what’s so awesome about this? Aside from premieres in Beverly Hills and a little bit of coverage, this almost feels like a straight to video deal. Meanwhile Marvel has The Amazing Spider-Man and The Avengers coming out soon, while Nicholas Cage is currently doing his crazy hair thing as Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, right now in theaters. What’s there to celebrate with an animation that’s not in 3D or worth an overpriced ticket to see?
What fans of the superhero genre have learned is that Marvel might turn out a great live action feature film but Detective Comics crafts an awesome animation combined with memorable stories; with recent Batman movies as the exception of course. How many times do I need to be surprised by a radioactive spider before I realize it’s just not enough.
Justice League Doom is based on the comic book series JLA: Tower of Babel storyline by Mark Waid. Waid has been a long time writer in the comic book industry, having notable work with titles such as the Flash, Captain America, Kingdom Come; almost the epic era of comics. Waid is also the creator of two titles, Irredeemable and Incorruptible, which tell a story not unlike a What if… or Elseworld series. If they were to describe Irredeemable as anything, it’d be, “What if Superman went evil?” Not in the Superman Rex storyline where he attempts to control earth, but kill and destroy anything that annoys him evil and laugh about it. That is the kind of storytelling that Mark Waid has brought to the table.
That’s right, Justice League Doom is not a rehash of an origin story, but a… adaptation of an epic story that’s only been done once; so far. To point out how this is different from the movie reboots happening right now, let say this: Statistically in the world, Thomas and Margret Wayne must die every twenty minutes in a retelling of Batman.
JLA: Tower of Babel runs a dark storyline about how each member of the Justice League of America is picked off one by one. Not by throwing their evil counterparts of the day at them, but incapacitated with calculated hits that maximize their weaknesses, physically and psychologically. Ra’s al Ghul, a near immortal villain of the Batman franchise is the one that makes these things happen, but it’s the Batman who’s to blame.
So who gets hit? The JLA at the time consisted of Batman, Superman, Wonderwoman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern; Kyle Rayner; and wait for it… Plastic Man.
The comic book version of Batman is nearly infallible. If he gets hit, it gets corrected quickly, otherwise he’s a paragon of all that is awesome that’s prepared for everything. The comic book version also paints a picture of a psychopath who’s a mixture of indomitable will, paranoia, and control issues. What does this mean? It means that Batman has studied every superhero that’s a potential threat, and has created contingency plans on how to put them down if he ever needs to. Given enough time, resources and preparation, Batman has laid the smack down on Gods. So what happens when a villain steals all of these plans?
So this storyline has been re-imagined and adapted by writer Dwayne McDuffie. The Justice League roster will change; no doubt to be in line with DC’s The New 52 reboot atrocity; so will the villains and so will the methods of how the heroes are put down. The original story was darker and inferred a lot more pain and death, but I won’t hold it against DC. Especially in light that Nathan Fillion; Firefly, Castle, Slither; will be voicing the part of Green Lantern again!