Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths Sam Liu & Lauren Montgomery

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths Sam Liu & Lauren Montgomery
With the superhero movie craze showing no signs of waning, both Marvel and DC have been stepping up their game recently, cashing in on their sundry stable of licenses by churning out a direct-to-video movie every financial quarter. While they may not possess the star power of an Iron Man or Dark Knight, these home video releases allow the exploration of established characters free from the restraints of their origin stories. Like Marvel's recent Planet Hulk, which pretty faithfully adapted Carlo Pagulayan and Greg Pak's Hulk comic mini-series for the small screen, DC's latest entry splices together a couple Justice League plotlines into a (passably) original script. Drawing heavily from Grant Morrison's JLA: Earth 2 comic book, Crisis on Two Earths treads well-trodden territory to DC fans: alternate universes. The movie sees a heroic Lex Luthor from another dimension soliciting the Justice League to help him thwart a super-powered Cosa Nostra known as the Crime Syndicate. After teleporting to this alternate Earth, DC's mightiest heroes face off against their alternate reality doppelgangers. Batman (voiced by Billy Baldwin) matches wits with Owl Man (voiced by James Woods), Superman trades heat vision blasts with Ultraman, the Flash runs circles around Johnny Quick (which sounds like a pretty stupid name, but, hey, so is "the Flash"), etc. What saves Crisis on Two Earths from being just another mirror-image multi-verse showdown is the strength of Dwayne McDuffie's script and the vigour of its many action sequences, which masterfully showcase the sort of visual coherence that eludes many of these animated features. The disc is also packed with special features: a look at the current state of the DC Universe, a first glimpse of the next planned DC animated movie (Batman: Under The Red Hood) and a ten-minute short featuring the Spectre, DC's vengeful Ghost Rider equivalent. Crisis on Two Earths is another top-notch release from DC, which bodes well for its future animated adaptations. (Warner)