From the opening strings of a powerful score, to the first utterances of each character where you”re jumping up to name the voice actor, to the cinematic storyline and slick style of animation, DC just knows what to do!
The old favorites Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano put together another great cast of performers, from James Woods as Owlman to Chris Noth as the good Lex Luthor, each character is a very nice and easy sell. The most interesting choice has to be William Baldwin as Batman. With the new Batman: Brave and the Bold series, Diedrich Bader took over the voice of Batman, thus breaking the idea that Kevin Conroy was the only accepted animated Batman. Bader”s caped crusader is a completely different animal and yet so pitch perfect, it felt different enough from Conroy”s classic and defining performance that it became an addition instead of a replacement. What that did for animated incarnations of the Dark Knight was open the door for other interpretations. We don”t feel as precious as we did before. In steps Baldwin with a smooth, whispering voice and while it may not please everyone, it might not be the best, it is kinda cool.
All of the Crime Syndicate”s (the evil Justice League from a parallel Earth”s) designs are perfect and their characterization is sweet. There”s a darkness to some of the characters when they”re given a moment to breathe that just grabs you. None of the writing is cheap until you near the end. The finale to the Martian Manhunter specifically plays out a little weak, but hey, casino online nobody”s perfect.
We”re a commentary short here, but other than that, the two disc edition has some nice features. First up is the sneak peak on the upcoming animated feature; namely Batman: Under the Red Hood. This is a strong next project to tackle and if it starts with Jason Todd being beaten to death by the Joker and has Neil Patrick Harris play Nightwing, let alone a Nightwing where they finally got rid of his eighties mullet, then I”m stoked! Next on the list is the featurette on the second disc with comic creators discussing the new DCU post Identity Crisis. No one is about to front on Geoff Johns, so that”s pretty cool. The only cheap thing on the disc are the bonus Justice League episodes, and the only people who will complain about that are the ones who already own the full seasons, like me.
Possibly the best thing in this special edition is the DC Showcase episode of The Spectre. Basically, a short film, the Showcase movies are supposed to highlight one of DC”s many characters who is likely to never get a full series devoted to them. The Spectre was an inspired first choice. Casting includes Alyssa Milano and the great Gary Cole in the title role. The story is actually written by 30 Days of Night creator; Steve Niles. Mostly known for his horror comics, Niles was a perfect fit to pen the story of a cop by day/spirit of vengeance by night as he investigates a murder in Hollywood. The project is so nuanced and detailed, not only is it made specifically for mature audiences regarding the violent content, but also many of the movie references that are slipped in. Keen eyes will catch Nosferatu, Jason (From the second Friday movie), the chick from the Exorcist, King Kong and a wicked homage to John Carpenter“s Christine. Speaking of Carpenter, the entire score for this story is like cuts from Escape From New York. As if all of that weren”t enough, the animation cells get a Grindhouse treatment, scratching the “negative” and blurry the edges of characters to hammer home the period feel of the short. This could have had it”s own DVD and it still would have been worth picking up. In fact, where are the special features for it?
So Crisis was great, the Spectre was something really special and I”m ready for more. Bring on Batman: Under the Red Hood and DC Showcase”s next short; Jonah Hex!