DC Comics’ first big crossover following the Rebirth reboot pits the Justice League against the Suicide Squad when Batman fills in the rest of the League about Amanda Waller‘s private army of mercenary super-villains. When the Squad’s latest mission in Badhnisia goes bad the Justice League shows up (not realizing that the Squad will quite literally have to fight for their lives to prevent Waller from murdering them all by detonating the explosives at the base of each of their skulls).
The other storyline features Superman having more trouble with the super-villains of Gotham City than he expected. Tricked by the Joker (Jason Spisak), Superman accidentally causes a break-out at Arkham Asylum. Even calling on the help of Cyborg (Khary Payton) and Wonder Woman (Grey Griffin), the heroes struggle to stop the chaos eventually allowing Robin (Scott Menville) to show them what crime-fighting in Gotham is all about.
Let me start by saying I have absolutely no idea what is happening in Justice League United #14. The second issue of an arc (yeah, okay I’ll admit I didn’t read the last issue, but seriously WTF is going on?) involving members of the team being trapped in a WWII battlefront along with a Who’s Who of lesser known DC characters including Sgt. Rock, Vandal Savage, Robotman, the Creature Commandos, Enemy Ace, the Unknown Soldier, and Batgirl is as bizarre as it sounds. Hell, even O.M.A.C. shows up before all is said and done. And it’s also kinda fun.
Despite unfortunately trapping our heroes in their less colorful and far blander New 52 costumes, the follow-up to LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League proves to be even more entertaining than the original. In Super-Friends style, LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Attack of the Legion of Doom! gives us an entire legion of villains teaming together to take down the Justice League.
Bringing back the core group from the first movie, with the exception of replacing Guy Gardner with Hal Jordan (Josh Keaton) (whose rivalry with the Flash, thankfully still in his classic costume, proves to be a fun running gag), the sequel also gives us a cameo by the Trickster (Mark Hamill), whose minifig is included with both the DVD and Blu-ray releases, and makes Batman (Troy Baker) the head of the Justice League as the heroes fight off the new super-villain team and the insecure Cyborg (Khary Payton) learns to grow into his role as a true hero.
I was ecstatic when I heard Bruce Timm was returning to DC for a new animated feature. One of the creators behind Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited, the animated DCU just hasn’t been the same since his departure. When I heard the premise of the movie, however, I was more skeptical. It turns out I need not have feared that Bruce Timm might be corrupted by the grit of the New 52 that’s turned so much of DC’s comic and video output to shit. Timm certainly delivers a darker and more adult story than expected but it’s still grounded in a profound understanding and love for these characters that is far too often lacking in much of DC’s current output.
Although the word Elseworlds doesn’t appear in its title that’s exactly what Justice League: Gods and Monsters is: a story set in an alternate version of the DCU vastly different from the any we know. The result is as unexpected as it is enjoyable. It may not be classic Timm, but the man certainly hasn’t lost his knack for characters, design, or storytelling.
The Infinitus Saga continues with Stargirl stepping up and talking some sense into both teams about the rather unheroic actions of killing a powerful child because of what he might one day turn into in one possible future timeline. The entire concept of the Legion of Super-Heroes heading backwards in time to commit murder has bothered me since the beginning of the arc rather than having the heroes struggle to find the more heroic thing to do, and I’m happy to see my favorite member of the current Canadian Justice League team be the one to step-up here as the cheap out of snapping someone’s neck appears to be off the table.