Superman vs. The Elite [Blu-Ray] Michael Chang

Superman vs. The Elite [Blu-Ray] Michael Chang
Can a sufficient threat justify moral flexibility? Comic and cartoon writer Joe Kelly's Superman vs. The Elite is concerned with the notion that the Man of Steel's resolute value system is antiquated and ineffectual in the face of zealous terror tactics. Wearing its politics on its sleeve, this is a tale with higher ideological stakes and a more forceful didactic thrust than is typical of on-screen outings with the noble alien strongman. Superman has grown to be perceived as bit of a good old boy, or corporate shill, in the eyes of the public. Kelly and director Michael Chang literalize this perception with a cartoon within the cartoon depicting the son of Krypton as a square-jawed boy scout. When a conflict with a particularly tough customer results in a hefty body count, the pubic begins to question Supe's unwavering stance against capital punishment. Right on cue, the Elite arrive, a group of anarchist super-humans dedicated to going that extra mile into the domain of authoritarian retribution. It's refreshing that these antagonists aren't outright villains; they just strongly believe in the necessity of lethal force ― a creed at odds with our hero's. For a topic that could easily get preachy, Kelly manages to keep the opposing schools of thought in balance, though you can only ever tease the moral compromise of Superman. In the hands of a writer who understands the modern sun god's core values, he's not a character that exists for wish fulfillment; he's an unwavering moral compass for humanity's most noble aspirations, and that's not a glamorous job. The kinetic artistry of these DC cartoon movies continues to gain in dynamism, with fluid action sequences keeping things moving between expository exchanges. Also in line with DC's rigorous standards for their animated line are the accompanying special features. Along with the standard inclusion of a couple classic cartoon episodes, "The Elite Unbound" gives creator Joe Kelly the chance to provide some background on the origin and purpose of his charmingly warty cadre of extremist do-gooders. With a lady horn dog, a magic-wielding alcoholic, a snotty Brit and an angry black man on team, the admitted inspiration of Warren Ellis's seminal anti-hero comic The Authority is obvious. "Superman and the Moral Debate" demonstrates once again just how potent the medium of comics can be for political and social discourse, with passionate arguments from a collection of professional thinkers, comic people and military personnel rounding out the selection of viewpoints. There's also a digital version of Action Comics #775 (on which this story is based) that's actually designed to be readable for a change, a sneak peak at The Dark Knight Returns: Part One and a feature commentary track with Kelly and executive editor of DC Edie Berganza that frequently points out where the adaptation of this mature tale held back and where it let the moral flexibility all hang out. (Warner)