DVD Review: Justice League: Doom (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Distributor: Warner Home Video
· Lauren Montgomery
· Kevin Conroy
· Tim Daly
· Susan Eisenberg
· Nathan Fillion
· Michael Rosenbaum
· Carl Lumbly
· Bumper Robinson
by R.J. Carter
Published: February 26, 2012
The late, great Dwayne McDuffie pens the script for this adaptation of the Justice League of America story arc, "Tower of Babel." "Justice League: Doom" delivers on a number of levels, with just a few chinks that stand out when noticed.
The story opens with Batman being first on the scene at another crime committed by the Royal Flush Gang. The card-suit criminals have obtained some interesting technology that allows them entrance to sealed vaults, which is a plot point far later in the film. The ensuing battle serves to introduce all the main characters of the Justice League with their classic voice casting: Batman is given voice by Kevin Conroy, Superman by Tim Daly, Wonder Woman by Susan Eisenberg, Flash by Michael Rosenbaum (although this is the Barry Allen forensic scientist Flash, not the Wally West Flash of Justice League Unlimited), Martian Manhunter by Carl Lumbly, and Green Lantern by Nathan Fillion. New to the JLA ranks is former Teen Titan, Cyborg (Bumper Robinson), who has also been introduced to the team in the comics with the reboot of Justice League of America in DC's "New 52."
The real meat of the story, however, comes through Vandal Savage, the immortal villain who has a bold plan for the future -- a plan that would be easier for him to complete with the Justice League off the table. Recruiting a foe from each Justice Leaguer's arch enemies -- Star Sapphire (Olivia D'Abo), Cheetah (Claudia Black), Bane (Carlos Alazraqui), Metallo (Paul Blackthorne), Ma'alefa'ak (Carl Lumbly), and Mirror Master (Alexis Denisof) -- Savage arms them with fool proof plans for eliminating each hero. The plans were developed with much planning and ingenuity.
They were also stolen.
Yes, the Dark Knight has stored away on his computer the exact plan for taking down any superhero, should he or she decide to go rogue, or fall victim to mind control. And now his plans are put to the test as hero after hero falls before the onslaught of the Legion of Doom. It's only because Savage alters the plans to be lethal rather than neutralizing that the League gets a hair's breadth of luck that allows them to ultimately recover and take on Savage's higher plan.
The action in "Justice League: Doom" is absolutely excellent. The tones of the backdrops are perfect for each scene, and mood and suspense are perfect. Although there are a few nits to be picked. For one, the opening credits -- intended to reflect the computer-stored plans Batman created -- has far too much eye-paining flicker in it. If Batman's monitor has this much flicker, he needs to get something with better resolution. The other point that sticks out is when Superman, while flying through outer space toward the sun, makes the ironic comment over his radio link: "Can't talk now." I'll let the science students figure out the obvious in that one.
"Justice League: Doom" comes with a nice pack of bonus features on this Blu-ray/DVD/Ultraviolet release, beginning with an optional feature commentary track with DC Comics stalwarts Geoff Johns and Mike Carlin. Additionally, as the feature is dedicated to the memory of Dwayne McDuffie, it's fitting that there be a tribute documentary to the man, "A League of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story."
Comics writers and academics gather in "Guarding the Balance: Batman and the JLA" to discuss the consequences of unchecked power, and why Batman would have the contingency plans he does. There's also a documentary devoted to the newest Justice League member, Cyborg, appropriately entitled "Cyborg: His Time Has Come."
I always think it's a nice bonus when one of these releases includes a digital copy of the comic upon which the feature is based. Unfortunately, they still just don't read easily when brought into an interactive digital format. This holds true for this release's digital bonus as well, the copy of Justice League of America #43, which kicked off the "Tower of Babel" story that became "Justice League: Doom."
One thing that's always a welcome repeating feature with these releases, however, is "Bruce Timm Picks." Here, the producer who has championed the cause of getting our DC heroes and villains into the animated universe presents two episodes from the past that are related to the feature. In this instance, it's the two part Justice League Unlimited story, "Wild Cards," featuring the Joker and introducing the Royal Flush Gang.
And just to get you excited for the next DC Universe animated release, you'll get a sneak peek at "Superman vs. The Elite."
Previews on this release include "Gotham City Imposters" videogame, "Batman: Year One", and Green Lantern: The Animated Series.