Thursday, March 7, 2013

Justice League: Doom - A Review

Imagine that we inhabit a world where two types of people exist. There are the mighty, the "Supers," which some might say are "Godlike." Then there exists the average person, you and me. In such a reality there is much which demands concern, for the weak are subject to the strong unless a balance can be maintained. In that world, maintaining that balance, defending us from those of the powerful who might take advantage of their superiority over the common individual, we know our protectors, our heroes to be an organization named "Justice League." That elite group of the best of the finest of the most powerful, in mind, body, and in drive, safeguard us from the destructive, shadowy elements who seethe in their egoistic delusions of personal greatness and complete superiority.

A natural question arises, though, as to who might check these potent checkers of the rest of the world's Übermenschen. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, or who watches the watchmen? In this world, standing amongst the glorious titans is one who takes upon himself such a task, unbeknownst to his heroic associates. The Batman of Gotham City has cataloged the abilities of his peers so that he might be prepared for anything, even a potential corruption of the sacred, altruistic League. It is this clandestine preparation which proves to be the Justice League's undoing in the 2011 Warner Brothers' animated feature "Justice League: Doom."

A sinister plot sends the Man of Steel plummeting.
Adapted for the screen by the late, great Dwayne McDuffie (creator of Static Shock), "Justice League: Doom" is one of the best DC animated films I've seen. The high quality of animation stood out immediately, along with the excellent character design and attention-grabbing action. Above all, though, I found the story to be the most attractive attribute. It's an exceptional dissection of a group of incredible individuals who, when grouped together, often appear too mighty for conventional, entertaining storytelling. Though this might seem to be a considerable hurdle, the story behind "Doom" managed to incredibly utilize the characters and their rogues galleries to tremendous effect.

Vandal Savage, the mastermind and would-be ruler of a
blighted world.
In this piece, the viewer is able to witness the League members as they are assaulted at their respective cores by the clever and lethal exploitation of the intimate knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses. While Vandal Savage, the film's main villain, and his "League of Doom" (consisting of Bane, Cheetah, Metallo, Star Sapphire, Mirror Master, and Ma'alefa'ak) are the force behind the daggers plunged into the vitals of the heroes, it is actually a series of notes on the strengths and weaknesses of individual League members, collected as a failsafe by Bruce Wayne/Batman and stolen from him by the Mirror Master, which truly damn the League members. This turn serves to enrich the tale as an ally's secret knowledge becomes, to emphasize the aptness of the film's title, the Justice League's doom.

I recommend a viewing for any and all fans of comics and exceptional hero-based animation. Out of five I give "Justice League: Doom" a five.

The Justice League, minus Cyborg - (right to left) The Flash,
Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Batman, and Superman.

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