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Justice League Unlimited – Alive! (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

I have to admit to being a bit disappointed with the final season of Justice League Unlimited, and the final season of Bruce Timm’s animated DC television shows to air. It had its moments, of course, but it felt a bit more shallow than everything that had come before. The first season of the show had wrapped up in such a way that it really was the perfect conclusion to well over a decade’s-worth of stories. While the finalé presented here, in the two-part Alive! and Destroyer, works well enough for what it is, it isn’t nearly quite as satisfying as either Divided We Fall or Epilogue.

The gold standard?

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Non-Review Review: Justice League – Doom

Batman has always had a bit of a curious relationship with the Justice League, as a concept. Justice League of America was introduced as a title featuring DC’s most popular characters, but it’s easy to spot the odd member out. While the team was composed of people who could move planets, forge objects out of willpower and move faster than the sound barrier, Batman was a more traditional pulp hero – a regular guy in a mask. His portrayal made him the odd man out – the paranoid loner fighting killer clowns and costumed nut-balls seemed a strange fit on a team of “science heroes.”

Dwayne McDuffie was one of the best writers of the team, making a massive contribution to the animated Justice League and Justice League Unlimited television shows, one of the best interpretations of the concept ever. As such, his exploration of Batman’s relationship with the group makes for fascinating viewing, despite the fact the movie occasionally veers a little too far towards the conventional.

A League of their own?

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Final Crisis: Revelations (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

I have to admit, I’ve always preferred DC’s approach to big comic events, as opposed to the approach at Marvel. While Marvel’s events (like Civil War or Secret Invasion) seem to exist to encroach on a writer’s comic book run (Ed Brubaker’s Captain America or Matt Fraction’s Iron Man), DC’s events tend to allow writers to tidy up loose ends. Or, to be fair, that’s what Final Crisis appeared to do. The major tie-in miniseries didn’t seem to exist to fill in gaps with the main book. Instead, they allowed the writers to resolve or move forward their own plots. For Geoff Johns, Rogues’ Revenge allowed him to segue between his first Flash run and Flash: Rebirth, while Legion of Three Worlds allowed him to sort out some outstanding Legion of Superheroes continuity.

Revelations exists to serve as a coda to Greg Rucka’s superb Gotham Central and his Question series, as well as tying in a bit to his upcoming Batwoman work. While I’m not the biggest fan of “comic book events” in general terms, I do respect that they allow writers to tell stories they might not otherwise get a chance to.

Shine a light…

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Geoff Johns’ Run on Justice Society of America – The Next Age, Thy Kingdom Come (Parts I, II & III) & Black Adam and Isis

With the Justice Society of America perhaps the most high-profile title excluded from DC’s upcoming relaunch, I thought I’d bid them farewell by taking a look at writer Geoff Johns’ second run on the title.

The Justice Society of America is one of those titles that DC does so well, one based on legacy. Admittedly Marvel has made some attempts in recent years (The Immortal Iron Fist stands out as a big example, as does Ed Brubaker’s Marvels Project – focusing on the World War II heroes adopted into Marvel’s pantheon), but DC have always handled the nostalgia so well. In fact, the relaunch of the Justice Society of America was prompted by the outstanding success of James Robinson’s original superhero generational saga, Starman. This collection represents the first set of arcs from the third volume – writer Geoff Johns was a veteran from the second volume, which (along with his writing on Flash) brought him to mainstream attention. So he knows the cast of characters and their world inside out.


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Justice League – Maid of Honour

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. With the review of Wonder Woman earlier today, I thought I’d take a look at one of the better Wonder Woman episodes of the DC animated universe.

While Batman: The Animated Series leaned more towards noir crime stories or gothic tragedies, and Superman: The Animated Series favoured high-concept science-fiction and space opera, Justice League offered action adventure stories, typically told in two or three half-hour episodes for a somewhat grander scale than most of the episodes of the earlier series allowed. In particular, Maid of Honour is essentially a superhero taken on a quintessential Bond film.

They share quite a Bond...

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Justice League – Hereafter (Parts I & II)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. With the review of Superman: Doomsday earlier, I thought it might be worth taking a look at some of the other times Superman has “died” in these animated stories.

Despite the rather large cast that the writers and producers used in producing Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, I always felt that the show was better with a more narrow focus. Of course, new characters like Green Lantern and Wonder Woman got their own episodes, but Batman and Superman were rarely the focus of attention – perhaps because they had each had their own television show beforehand, and ample time for exposure. Hereafter is a two-part episode which really feels like two separate stories, both of which are fundamentally about Superman. The first is an exploration of who the hero is, based around removing him from the fictional universe and examining the holes left in his absence. The second half explores what makes Superman a hero, if it isn’t his collection of superpowers.

Part of me wonders where Clark Kent is buried...

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