Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths [2010]

~Psychos on Infinite Earths~

Both the Marvel and DC universes have their eccentricities. The Marvel camp likes to make alternate timelines, and they are especially fond of alternate futures. (97% of these alternate futures involve the X-Men getting hosed in some way.)

Superman on the other hand seems to survive all kinds of alternate scenarios, and even death. BTW, do not make Supes angry…

The DC camp prefers the more complicated “alternate Earth” method. This involves the creation of a new alternate Earth with every decision made (or when a comic team wants to bring in an edgy “evil” variant of a popular hero) .

Just thinking that through, you see how fast it gets kooky and soon meaningless. A zillion Earths and a zillion variants of every character. Feel special yet?

Nice face.   But -ahh, who are you supposed to be?

DC tried to trim back their out-of-control multi-verse back in the 80′s with the famous comic series, “Crisis on Infinite Earths”.  Well, do not let the title of this recent direct to video release fool you. It quickly moves past two earths to that mind-numbing infinite number again.

Okay, now its just getting ridiculous…

Many fans occasionally enjoy seeing alternate versions of their favorite heroes or villains, and we here in the Fortress are no different. We enjoyed seeing Owlman, a popular evil Batman variant, in the first season of Batman and the Brave and the Bold.

Crisis on Two Earths gives you evil versions of the usual Justice League suspects with an interesting art direction spin.

Eeevil Hawkgirl had little remorse, – and even less of a part in this feature.

We did not care for either version of Martian Manhunter. One was really ugly. The other was ..ah, strange?

How about our one sentence synopsis? A good Lex Luther from an alternate Earth travels to our Earth to enlist the Justice League to help him rid his alternate Earth of their bad versions of which Batman’s doppelgänger Owlman is a member and a little psychotic to the point where he develops a plan to destroy not only his Earth but every Earth and must be stopped by our heroes who along the way learn important lessons about heroic nobility, fabulous costume alternatives and trans-species love.

There is love between psychopath Supergirl and sociopath Owlman. Charming.

…and there is cross-species romance between a human and a martian…

It is hard to believe that the alternate Earth has lasted as long as it has with that bunch of psychotic loons running loose. Each one is more selfish, psychopathic or even sociopathic than the other. Superman’s alternate version kills anyone who gets in his way. Wonder Woman’s kills anyone she feels like for kicks.  Batman’s alternate wants to kill everything that ever lived.

So, on the alternate universe Krypton, Ultraman’s family crest happened to look like the human letter “U”?

Ultraman also used eye liner. Evil.

This is our Earth’s Ultraman.

The animation and fight choreography were above average. There was certainly no shortage of the latter, and the hour and 13 minutes goes by at a decent pace with little lag.

Hmm, which of these two Green Lanterns is eeeevile. (If you guess Mr. Funny Zipper with the pork chop sideburns, you are correct.)

What you find appealing says a lot about you. Do you prefer the pale goth crazy look or the angry buff spray tanned look?

Usually when mirrored supergroups face-off they start out fighting their respective doppelgängers. When that yields unsatisfactory results some wise guy usually suggests to switch it up, which saves the day.  Well…, they didn’t do that here, which is okay.  You will see power ring versus power ring, heavy hitters exchange heavy hits, and batarangs versus – er, owl-rangs.

Lex Luthor, good guy? We missed Clancy Brown’s voice work. Maybe it would not have worked with him on the side of the heroes.  (Against all odds, Lex has no hair in any universe.)

Lately, DC has made the decision to be inconsistent with their character’s voice actors. We do not care for that, and find that it causes an additional hurdle to be overcome in order to acclimate to each release.  And we’re not talking about the evil doppelgängers, were talking about the heroes.

Are you serious? It is like something out of the 1970′s Superfriends! Bell bottoms and collar included. They had to have designed this costume for fun.  (Oh, and nice belt buckle dude. Original.)

The black eyeliner and Brooklyn accent on Superman’s doppelgänger, Ultraman took some adjustment, but was fun.  The nihilism of Owlman was just hard to justify. Destroying this universe is something that’s hard enough to swallow coming from Darkseid. I mean come on, what is the upside to that? Owlman taking it a step farther to destroy every Earth ever was a little much.

“Go ahead punk, make- … hmm, actually that is something I would say in both universes.”

But none of that takes too much away from this fun romp. While we would not recommend it for younger children, its complexities are more than interesting enough for teenagers and adults.

Ultraman had his own unique way of lobbying the president.  Who says politics is boring?

Batman: The Brave and the Bold [2008-2009] Season 1. Episodes 1-13

Batman_alternate_costume_owlman

We liked where the art direction for Batman ended up by the end of the Bruce Timm era.  We are talking about the final season of Justice League Unlimited.  The long ears, dark cape-cloak, and the streamlined color scheme.  We especially liked Kevin Conroy’s voice work.  The Batman came out very soon afterward on Saturday mornings and we were not quite ready for a Batman reboot. Though that show self-admittedly evolved too over its five seasons to bring Batman more into his square-jawed dark knight mode.

Batman as his evil parallel universe doppleganger, Owlman. "I know Owlman. Owlman is a friend of mine. You're no Owlman."

Batman's evil parallel universe doppleganger, Owlman. "I know Owlman. Owlman is a friend of mine. You're no Owlman."

Batman: The Brave and the Bold seemed like a radical departure from both previous series.  At first it seemed more a homage to the 1960′s live action show than anything else.  (While we do like the 1960′s show, we probably do so in a whole different section of our brains.)  However B: TBATB quickly became a whole lot more.  If you get past the initial culture shock  you will be treated to episodes with ever increasing intensity.

Batman powered up in magical armor by Morgain le Fey.  (Also seen in World of Warcraft.)

Batman powered up in magical armor by Morgain le Fey. (Also seen in World of Warcraft.)

The season starts out with a third tier rogue’s gallery exemplified by the likes of Clock King and Gentleman Ghost!  Batman is also joined by B-list heroes like Blue Beetle and Red Tornado.   We are wondering what we are doing wandering the disused file cabinets in DC’s basement.  However we will also be the first to say that some of the lesser know villains and even heroes can be quite interesting.  (More so the crazy villains in our opinion, but we digress.)

batman_brave_bold_morgan_armor

While the intensity and pacing increases episode by episode the show is not afraid to poke fun at itself (sorry Plastic Man), take famous quotes from old political debates and allow Batman a good number of dry-humor witticisms.  It is solid entertainment from each episode’s Bond-like opening scene to end credits.  By mid-season we were won over, and by the last epic two-parter we were big fans.

Alternate universe Batman, Owlman impersonates Batman. Confused?

Alternate universe Batman, Owlman impersonates Batman. Confused?

That last arc involved the thorn in DC Comic’s side, parallel Earths.  (Remember how Crisis on Infinite Earths was supposed to end that?)  It was quite interesting to see bad versions of the seasons heroes and good versions of some villains.  There are some twists and turns.  The finale will not disappoint.  Also, you may have waited the whole season to see him, and by the end you indeed will.  We are talking about Batman’s arch enemy.  But the encounter will not be straightforward!

Batman even sports Green Lantern armor in episode 10. "In brightest day, in blackest night; No evil shall escape my sight; Let those who worship evil's might; Beware my power... Batman's light!?"

Batman even sports Green Lantern armor in episode 10. "In brightest day, in blackest night; No evil shall escape my sight; Let those who worship evil's might; Beware my power... the Dark Knight's light!?"

The art direction subtlety evolved over the course of the 13 episodes in our opinion.  It got a little darker.  The dutch angles and other dramatic camera work were great homage and effective.  You will see Batman wear more costumes this season than you could throw a bat-a-rang at.  You will smirk when you see the “evil” Batman turning good Batman’s costume into something very much like the last season of Justice League!  Ha.

batman_brave_bold_aquaman_black_manta

Some notable appearances:  Hal Jordan as Green Lantern; the classic returns.  Black Manta; we remember the ancient Aquaman show, and have always liked Manta’s creepy voice.  Well it is indeed back.  How about a pre-evil Sinestro?  Yes, before he became the ultimate Green Lantern villain.  And hey, a shout out to Doctor Polaris.  Who?  Nevermind.  But his costume is almost as cool as his name.

Menacing Black Manta with a sinister modulated voice brimming with attitude. Plus look at the dutch angle. He MUST be a bad guy!

Menacing Black Manta with a sinister modulated voice brimming with attitude. Plus look at the dutch angle. He MUST be a bad guy!

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 part 1

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 part 2

Batman: The Brave and the Bold  Season 2

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 3

Check out our other Batman takes:

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [2010]

Batman: Under the Red Hood [2010]

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman [2003]

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies [2009]