Superman/Batman Apocalypse is the latest DC comics original animated film, this one featuring the World’s Finest pair of DC’s flagship characters along with a couple of guest stars.
The film opens with news reports of President Lex Luthor’s impeachment which is interesting because Luthor plays no role in the film. It’s a nice nod to continuity from the Superman/Batman: Public Enemies film. An object from space crashes into Gotham harbor. It turns out to be yet another Kryptonian spaceship, this time carrying Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin, and the future Supergirl.
While Superman welcomes his cousin warmly, Batman is concerned that her lack of training with her powers could endanger innocent people. He conspires with Wonder Woman to kidnap Kara and take her to Themyscira where she can be properly trained to use her abilities. However someone else has his eye on Kara…Darkseid! Darkseid wants Kara be the new leader of his Furies and sends a horde of Doomsday clones to capture and bring her back to Apokolips. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, along with Big Barda journey to Apokolips to try and rescue Kara.
Superman/Batman Apocalypse returns Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy to the roles of Superman and Batman that they voiced in the 1990s animated series’. These guys are like comfort food and DC needs to stop experimenting with other actors for their voices. Summer Glau, best known for her role in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, voices Kara about as you would expect, in a somewhat exaggerated teenager whiny voice. Only Andre Braugher disappointed as the voice of Darkseid. He didn’t hit the right notes of power and malevolence that Darkseid should. Ed Asner is a treat as Granny Goodness.
There are a number of issues with Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. First, despite the title, this is clearly Superman’s film. Batman is just along for the ride and doesn’t have a lot to do. Batman just doesn’t work well in these ultra superhuman stories. He seems to be included only to give Superman an antagonist when it comes to dealing with Kara. The idea that Batman and Wonder Woman could somehow ambush, and overcome BOTH Superman and Supergirl is silly.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse played more like a multi-part episode of Justice League and doesn’t have the kind of cachet and impact that comic fans had hoped for. It’s not terrible but it’s a few notches below Public Enemies and Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.
DC Showcase Presents: Green Arrow (11:14) – the latest DC Showcase animated short feature finds Green Arrow at the airport to pickup Dinah Lance and stumbles upon Merlyn the Magnificent and the League of Assassins who are trying to kill the 12 year-old Queen of Vlatava. Features the voices of Neil McDonough as Green Arrow, and Malcolm McDowell as Merlyn. This is another strong entry in the DC Showcase series.
The Fourth World: The New Gods (22:10) A look at Jack Kirby and his creation of the Fourth World mythology. Features interviews with Dan Didio, Paul Levitz, and Walt Simonson. Covers each of the four titles that Kirby both wrote and drew when he came to DC in 1970.
New Gods Profile Mr. Miracle (5:00) A history of Scott Free, AKA Mr. Miracle in the comics and his being raised on Apokalips.
New Gods profile: Orion (4:37) a history of Orion, the son of Darkseid.
Supergirl: The Last Daughter of Krypton (18:00) An in-depth history of Supergirl character from her introduction in Action Comics in 1959 to the present. Looks at the changing roles of female superheroes in comics.
Sneak Peek: All Star Superman (10:00) A preview of the next animated film from DC adapting the popular series written by Grant Morrison and his re-envisioning of classic Superman stories.
Bruce Timm Presents Four Bonus Cartoons Featuring Darkseid from Superman: The Animated Series.