Tuesday, April 13, 2010

_Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths_ DVD

I got this direct-to-video release from NetFlix right after seeing an ad for it in a Target. I suppose I need to get on a mailing list for DC vids...they're putting out these videos pretty fast. It's a great time to be a Justice League fan.

The movie opens with Lex Luthor and an oddly-dressed Joker attacking some kind of facility, where they are opposed by strange costumed characters. When they're about to be captured and the Joker guy sacrifices himself, we realize something's off. Turns out this is a counter-earth where the bad guys are good...and the good guys, of course, are bad.

This is a good flick, and not just because it uses the counter-earth/Earth 2 characters that I like so much. Oh, wait, maybe that is it. They pretty much had me at Owlman. And if they're going to go to the trouble of having James Woods voice Owlman, and Gina Torres for Superwoman (hubba hubba!), well, it's going to be tough to disappoint me.

The storyline is fairly similar to the Frank Quitely-drawn, Grant Morrison Written JLA: Earth 2 graphic novel which I own and frankly adore. But there are significant differences, notably the ending. 

I love the way the bad guys are not simple opposites of the good guys. However, the little details that distinguish them are mostly missing from this rendition; the drug use of Owlman and Johnny Quick are sanitized out of the picture, and we don't see Superwoman at the Daily Planet, none of that stuff. 

The highlights of this animated version include a great character design for Martian Manhunter, and a fun portrayal of Good Lex.

However it's nowhere near as ruthless or dark as Morrison's story, which is surely the intent. That one was a tragedy; don't expect that here. 

If you were as sick as I was when the Justice League Unlimited cartoon ended (those were some of the best shows I've ever watched with my kids), you should make time to watch this one. Right now it's my favorite of all the followon DC movie releases; it certainly beats out the Wonder Woman movie

On the other hand, if you watch and enjoy this and want more Earth-2 action, you can  definitely get a copy of JLA: Earth 2. I've read it five or ten times and will certainly pick it up again.


As I mentioned, the bad guys have been cleaned up a bit here when compared to the Morrison story. Superwoman, for example, is much less skeevy; Owlman's drug use isn't mentioned, nor his quest to destroy his father. But these two characters have a goal that is cosmically dark: wiping out all humanity across all the alternate earths, by blowing up Earth Prime. On the face of it, this is something worse than Morrison's Owlman would ever attempt...but really, it's a clean megalomaniacal weird supervillain kind of exploit. And it's never gonna happen. There's simply no way this story is going to end with the end of all existence. 

But what if Owlman had, for example, kidnapped and raped the president's daughter to establish dominance over the government? That doesn't require the fancy tech....but that kind of seriousness, that kind of scary down-to-earth threat, is hinted at but never realized in this story.

I bring that up because they do hint at it: the conflict here is at heart the attempt of the Crime Syndicates to take over the government of Earth-2. I doubt anyone could successfully pitch a story as dark as I'm suggesting for an animated comic movie by DC...not for a while, anyway. But the the movie is serious about its issues and presentation, even if it did seem to make some compromises. It was great to hear many-worlds theory being mentioned in a comic book movie. 

The scene where Superwoman hints at doing dark sexy things to Batman is priceless; when she says "that'll cost you a rib," and then reaches out with a finger and snaps one of his ribs, that's a great way to emphasize the differenced in power levels between them...and of course it plays nicely off the way the Justice League shows are always hinting at a relationship between Wonder Woman and Batman.

I hope this movie gets the support of fans and we can see more like it.


  1. Oh, oh, I have a lot of work to do today and you drop this temptation on me! You sir, are the evil Lex Luthor. With hair.

  2. You're saying I'm hairful?

  3. You are a hirsute Adonis with curly locks, amigo.