Justice League: Doom [Blu-Ray] Lauren Montgomery

Justice League: Doom [Blu-Ray] Lauren Montgomery
DC continues its successful string of animated features with the late, great Dwayne McDuffie's final script for Justice League: Doom. Borrowing elements from Mark Waid's Tower of Babel and Alex Ross's Justice story arcs, McDuffie fashions Doom as a cautionary tale on the double-edged nature of the necessity of developing safeguards against power. After a strong title sequence presented in dossier form introduces the primary characters and voice actors (including excellent DC regular Nathan Fillion, of Firefly, and geek-friendly Michael Rosenbaum, of Smallville), the Justice League squares off against some minor hooligans to establish the basic personalities and relationship dynamics between the heavyweight do-gooders. Investigating some strange technology used by the D-list baddies, the JLA is drawn into a plot hatched by a fresh assemblage of the Legion of Doom to neutralize them via exploiting each member's Achilles heel. This thoughtful perspective on how arrogance and even logical paranoia can be used against us doesn't skimp on action in getting its points across. Among a multitude of well-orchestrated action sequences, we see Batman's emotional obsession with his parents used by Bane to catch him off guard, Wonder Woman's stubbornness weaponized by nemesis Cheetah, Superman's sympathies used to penetrate his invulnerability by kryptonite-powered robot Metallo, Green Lantern's guilt used by Star Sapphire as an emotional castration device, Martian Manhunter's loneliness turned toxic by fellow alien Ma'alefa'ak, and the Flash's cocky heroism gets the plot of Speed strapped to his wrist by Mirror Master. Lesser-known hero Cyborg is given a boost and helps modernize the requirements of a global police force in a computer-centric world as the League's tech consultant, helping establish the character's overall positioning as a major player in the DC universe. Raising the profile of a strong African-American character is an appropriate, though sadly untimely, exit for McDuffie, who throughout his career strived to introduce and highlight minority superheroes with his Milestone line of comics. In memorial to the prodigiously talented writer who passed away last year, "A League of One" sheds much light on an extraordinary man who saw the popular medium of cartoons as a golden opportunity to share his morals with a massive impressionable audience. It's a moving tribute to a fascinating personality worth learning about. As is common with DC's animated features, the Blu-Ray contains an academic examination of the story's real-world abuse of power analogies with scholars, you know, in case you don't take this whole comics thing seriously. Also included: a sneak peek at the studio's next animated project, two classic cartoons selected by producer Bruce Timm, a background on Cyborg and his increasing relevance in contemporary comics, a sporadically informative audio commentary with DC creative director Geoff Johns and director of animation, Mike Carlin, and a digital issue of JLA: Tower of Babel that's got a sensible enough layout to actually be readable. (Warner)