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Justice League: Doom

Score: 97%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Warner Brothers Home

Region: 1
Media: Blu-ray/2
Running Time: 77 Mins.
Genre: Action/Comic Book
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio (English);
           5.1 Dolby Digital (English,
           French); Dolby 2.0 (Spanish)

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish


  • A League of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story
  • Guarding the Balance: Batman and JLA
  • Cyborg: His Time Has Come
  • Creative Team Commentary -- Geoff Johns and Mike Carlin
  • DC Digital Comic Book -- "Justice League of America: Tower of Babel"
  • Preview - Superman vs. The Elite
  • Bruce Timm Presents: Justice League Unlimited -- "Wild Cards: Parts 1 & 2"
  • DVD Copy of Justice League: Doom
  • Ultraviolet Copy of Justice League: Doom

Batman can beat anyone with prep time.

Or, at least that's how the meme goes... but as Justice League: Doom confirms, for Batman "prep time" is just lagniappe. Chances are, he's probably already figured out how to beat you, he's just keeping it on file for later use.

Based on Mark Waid's Justice League of America story arc, "JLA: Tower of Babel," Justice League: Doom begins with Batman investigating a robbery. He soon discovers the Royal Flush Gang is behind the heist, prompting the rest of the Justice League to get involved.

If Justice League proves anything, it is the need for a new Justice League animated series (the inclusion of two Justice League Unlimted episodes as bonus material only strengthens the point). Not only does Justice League: Doom collect some of the team's best members; it also brings back a number of fan favorites for its voice cast. The Trinity (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) are voiced by Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy and Susan Eisenberg respectively, while Michael Rosenbaum returns to play the Flash (though, the Barry Allen version - sorry Wally West fans) and Carl Lumbly once again morphs into the Martian Manhunter. Also on board is Nathan Fillion as the Green Lantern and Bumper Robinson as Cyborg.

With the Royal Flush Gang out of commission, we soon learn the plot was really just a distraction to sneak Mirror Master into the Batcave (one of the few plot holes, proving Batman doesn't think of everything) to steal Batman's secret files. As it turns out, Batman spends his down time planning contingency plans in case any of his super-powered allies goes off the reservation. Now those plans are in the hands of Vandal Savage and the Legion of Doom - Ma'alefa'ak, Cheetah, Metallo, Star Sapphire, Mirror Master and Bane.

Yeah, it's not exactly a "Who's Who" of the heroes rogue's gallery, but Justice League: Doom does a good job of making each a credible threat. Bane comes off as particularly vile, though I'll let you watch to see how he takes Batman out of commission. Vandal Savage, who isn't my favorite villain, is also made into a villain worthy of top-tier evil. Turns out, the plan to knock out the Justice League is just a minor part of an even more malevolent plot.

Fans of "Tower of Babel" will no doubt notice Justice League: Doom takes a couple of liberties with the original story. For starters, the Tower of Babel is completely gone. Also, Ra's al Ghul isn't the villain's ringleader and a number of JLA members (most notably, Aquaman) are absent. Even some of Batman's plans are altered, but none of that really matters. The core story is still compelling and works. Without question, Justice League: Doom is one of DC Animation's best offerings and shows how to do the "group thing" correctly. There's just enough solo action to please fans of the individual heroes, while you also get a lot of group fights.

Much of the credit for Justice League: Doom's success is to the late Dwayne McDuffie. He was a pro at telling huge stories in little time, and Justice League: Doom stands out as an example of how to do it right. Future writers would do well to check out Justice League: Doom just to see how to pace this sort of thing out.

Fittingly, McDuffie gets his own feature, "A League of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story." The extra goes through McDuffie's entire career, beginning at Milestone all the way to DC. It's a good look at his career, and packed with lots of remarkable factoids, but you also get a really good feeling for how much he meant to everyone who is interviewed. It's hard to not get a little choked up watching. If you're a comic fan, this is all the reason you need to pick up the Blu-ray.

Another of my favorite extras is "Guarding the Balance: Batman and JLA," which is a bit different when it comes to a featurette - especially on a superhero movie. The 20-minute documentary explores the reasons behind Batman's contingency plans by examining real-life examples of the need for accountability when it comes to people (or entities) with lots of power.

The last featurette focuses on Cyborg, who makes his Justice League debut in Justice League: Doom. I won't say I enjoyed the short, but that likely has something to do with my dislike of Cyborg than anything else.

Justice League: Doom also features two Justice League Unlimited episodes, "Wild Cards - Part 1 and 2." The Joker plants bombs all over the Vegas strip and challenges the Justice League to find and defuse the real ones in twenty minutes. As an added challenge, he unleashes the Royal Flush Gang to trip up the heroes. Both episodes are presented as a sort of 24 styled "in the moment" show (with Joker as host) and are wildly entertaining.

Finally, there's commentary with Geoff Johns and Mike Carlin. Since neither had much to do with the actual movie, they take a more comic book fan approach, which works out better than I thought it would.

You also get a digital comic book version of "JLA: Tower of Babel," which is impossible to read on the TV (might I suggest a code for a comic reader/ tablet app?), and a sneak peek at Superman vs. The Elite, DC's next animated feature. The DVD and a streaming version of Justice League: Doom are also included.

"JLA: Tower of Babel" is one of my favorite comic book story arcs, so I may be a little biased, but it is hard to not recommend Justice League: Doom for comic book fans, even casual ones.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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