Saturday, March 3, 2012

I'm Doomed!

Let me just say that Dwayne McDuffie continues to be sorely missed.  Watching Justice League:  Doom reminded me of how much we lost when McDuffie died.  When I initially heard about the lineup of the Justice League in this film, I groaned a bit, because I felt the creeping influence of the New 52 version of DC Comics.

The Flash is Barry Allen in this one?  Cyborg is on the team?

But watching the movie, I'm reminded that McDuffie "got" a lot of the DC Universe that current writers kind of struggle with.

While I prefer Wally as Flash, what struck me in this movie was that Barry as Flash was different than Wally as Flash.  Barry wasn't quite as funny  (although he had a few good lines), but he was more methodical and science oriented.

Cyborg has a definite reason for being on the team, and instead of retconning the character to make him a charter member, we actually get a nice "young hero moving up to the big Leagues" story.

What is really interesting is that over the course of the movie we actually get a good snapshot of the personalities of each League member and more of a peek into their personal lives and secret identities than we usually got even in the brilliant Justice League series.

McDuffie even manages seize on Hal's headstrong personality traits without going over the top and making him the alpha male frat boy that some writers choose for their defining characterization of the character.  Of course I'd be remiss in mentioning how well Hal comes across without mentioning Nathan Fillion's spot on voice work for the character.

Another aspect of the movie that I appreciated is the utilization of villains that don't always get the spotlight.  It would have been easy to use Ra's al Ghul, Lex Luthor, Grodd, etc.  However, those characters have had more mainstream exposure or had major story arcs in the old DCAU.  While some of them appeared in the DCAU, we never really got as much information or personality from Cheetah, Mirror Master, or Star Sapphire.  Bane never really got pushed nearly as well in the DCAU as he did in the comics, but we get a hint that Bane was a bit more successful in this incarnation of the character.  Savage and Metallo had their screen time in the DCAU, but it was nice to give Lex and some others a rest while other villains got to be the evil mastermind.

Speaking of Star Sapphire . . . man does this movie make me wish we could rewind the clock back to before there was a Star Sapphire Corps of touchy feeling love based lanterns.  Hal is about 100% more interesting with personalized villains instead of a supporting cast telling him that he is awesome.

If there is one criticism I can mount, it's that knowing the inspirational story originally featured Ra's as the main bad guy, it's hard not to look at Vandal Savage's plan and say, "this is totally something Ra's should be doing."  It's a minor quibble, but it's there.  Oh, and before anyone else thinks about it, yeah, people fly at comic book speed and talk in space.  It happens in superhero stories.

I hope that there is another Justice League project of this quality coming out of DC's animated division in the future.  I really hope DC finds someone that "gets" so much of mythology and heart behind the characters as Dwayne McDuffie obviously did.


  1. But I didn't like that Batman resined from the team at the end :[

  2. The Justice League movies sort of have a non-continuity continuity . . . I don't know how it will go now that McDuffie is gone, but I'm almost certain that if they did another JL movie, they would end up calling in Batman for a consultation . . . not unlike how Worf always ended up in Next Gen movies despite not being on the Enterprise anymore . . . ;)