Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

Some of the most enjoyable storylines in the old Justice League of America series were those that dealt with the DC's concept of the multiverse. Adventures could take place on an infinite number of parallel Earths each with a different twist. One could be where costumed heroes emerged in an earlier generation. Another could involve a world where the Nazis were victorious in World War II.

These stories provide context where one can indulge a love of superheroes, the theories of Michio Kaku, and alternative history in a single narrative.

The greatest adversaries in these stories were the evil Justice League known as the Crime Syndicate. Like the Mirror-Universe Star Trek crew these villains provided a darker view of some very familiar faces.

The newest DC animated film to be released on DVD picks up on that old tradition and augments. This is perhaps the most fully realized version of the Crime Syndicate's world and it moves the concept forward. The moral implications of interfering in the affairs of a different society are examined and evil is explored in different shades of gray.

The most interesting member of this Crime Syndicate is the evil Batman known as Owlman. This Darker Knight is invested with a nihilism that could make the Joker shudder. In contrast, another "bad" guy shows some unexpected nobility.

Overall, this is an animated film with surprising depth that makes me hope that more Justice League stories will spin out of it.

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