And so it's that time of the year again, the obligatory, bi-annual, straight-to-DVD review of the latest feature length cartoon from the DC Animated Universe. I've had a lot of pleasure from reviewing these during blog's existence such as the brilliant Batman: Under the Red Hood, All-Star Superman, the various Batman/Superman team ups and as recently as the adaptation of Frank Miller's iconic Batman: Year One. The latest in this solid series comes in the form of Justice League: Doom.
Based loosely on the fantastic graphic novel, JLA: Tower of Babel by Mark Waid, the feature tells the story of how a secret society of supervillains brings down the entire Justice League using the contingency plans drawn up by Batman himself, if any of the JLA decided to go rouge.
The voice cast sees the return of many actors from the excellent Justice League Unlimited cartoons of the late 90s/early 00s. Kevin Conroy (arguably the best 'actor' to ever portray the character) once again reprises his role as Batman, as does Tim Daly as Superman. Also returning as The Flash and Wonder Woman respectfully is Michael Rosenbaum and Susan Eisenberg, alongside Carl Lumbly as Martian Manhunter. The highlight however is the brilliant turn from Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern - still in this blogger's mind the man who should've played him in the live action film last year.
The animation was top notch, and looks fabulous in blu-ray form. However the story isn't quite as inspired as the source material it was originally based on. Whereas Tower of Babel delved into Batman's personal paranoia towards the rest of the JLA members and presented him with temptations which I won't spoil here, Justice League: Doom merely hinted at these bigger themes and instead opted for another tired 'megalomaniac threatens to blow up the world' scenario.
The choice and portrayal of the villains on hand weren't bad to be fair, the nice hints at past clashes were there, especially between Green Lantern and his first love Carol Ferris who later turned into Star Sapphire. Though cynically the whole affair does beg the question, did the folks at Warner Bros have this summer's The Dark Knight Rises in mind when they, oh so subtly, threw Bane into the mix as folly for Batman.
Fans of Justice League Unlimited will find plenty to enjoy seeing their favourite heroes portrayed by the voices they all remember from the original cartoons. Unfortunately there isn't really a big lot of room for accessibility elsewhere especially as the story doesn't quite live up to the Tower of Babel material it was originally based on. That being said it's enough to quench the thirst for some new superhero action until the frantic superhero fuelled summer blockbuster season. But only just.
Justice League: Doom is available on DVD/Blu-Ray from February 28th, 2012.