2019 Written by James Krieg and Tim Sheridan
Directed by Sam Liu
Six months later….
Superman is dead, but since he’s also Jesus you know he’s got to come back to life. But if you also followed the comics, you know there was no way they’d let you off the hook that easily! As there were 4 concurrent Superman comic series, 4 pretenders to the throne emerged, one in each book, each out to be the new Superman. Sort of. Steel (John Henry Irons) wasn’t out to replace Superman, he was inspired by Superman to become a hero himself and go after the weapons he designed that were let loose on the streets. So he build himself a metal outfit, became the Man of Steel, and got to work. Superboy was a clone of Superman, aged to teen years so he could use the name from the Superboy comics, but with cool 90s sunglasses and a leather jacket. Eradicator and Cyborg Superman are different in that they were way less clear as to their origins or how seriously they were pretending to be Superman. As these stories are decades old, it isn’t a spoiler to reveal Eradicator was a computer program while Cyborg Superman was evil (He nuked Coast City! Then some dumb stuff happened and then they rebuilt it….) Eventually Superman comes back and saves the day. As a primarily Marvel reader, when all the Death of Superman/Funeral for a Friend/Reign of the Supermen stuff was going on, I actually read and enjoyed DC comics. Before then I didn’t really make any special effort, but these were good enough to keep me hooked.
This story follows many of the same beats, but is remixed and streamlined. There are still four pretenders running around, but Superboy is now a clone created by Lex Luthor in an attempt to brand Superman as his own property (he’s even launched as Superman, the launch party descending into chaos as the Eradicator shows up to fight Superboy for daring to declare himself the real Superman, and Steel popping up to try to stop the fighting (as John Irons was nearby investigating Luthor for his own reasons) Steel seems more Iron Man inspired, though to be fair the biggest interpretation of him prior was Shaq’s film. Continue reading →
2018 Written by Peter Tomasi
Directed by Jake Castorena and Sam Liu
Superman is know for two things: Super powers and dying. Okay, that’s a vast oversimplification, but Superman does die a lot, and here he dies again, in animated form. But wait, didn’t they already do a Death of Superman animated movie? Why, yes, they did! It was one of the first animated DC movies (and it was quite bland!) This redo is more than just a remake, it’s incorporating multiple prior films that form a loose continuity while also flowing into the later parts of the story (Reign of the Supermen), all while updating and modifying where necessary. Sliced out is a lot of the embarrassing 90s stuff and unimportant plot elements (though the bigger changes are in the sequel!) In their place is story that makes Superman more human and necessary for humanity, right before the biggest threat appears that we all know is about to snatch him away.
One of the themes of the live-action films is if the world even needs a Superman. It’s the story Lois wrote in Superman Returns, it was one of the reasons Clark tried to hide his power and later is investigated by the government in the Snyder movies (yes those films are far more complicated than that, say with me here…) There is even shades of it here, with astronaut Hank Henshaw convinced Superman will save them when there is a problem in space (spoiler alert: he doesn’t!) But all those points become moot when a giant guy starts smashing his way through major cities and your heroes fall before him. The world needs people who can stand up to evil. Continue reading →
2010 Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Directed by Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery
A popular science fiction trope is heroes who are evil, villains who are good. From alternate universe to just same universe doubles, this phenomenon appears again and again, often involving goatees. Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths continues the tradition, by utilizing the long-lived Crime Syndicate that has survived several decades of DC comics reboots and remixes. Instead of getting caught up in having characters face their dark side, the evil twins are just the setting for a tale of good versus evil that accelerates into the ultimate stakes, thanks to Owlman’s secret plan.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is an Easter egg hunter’s dream. There are so many alternate versions of DC Comics characters that you need a flow chart to figure them all out. Add to that several of them being not only evil mirrors, but references to other non-comic characters and you will spend each viewing discovering something new. It’s one of the better DC animated films, getting the characters correct The setting in the alternate Earth allows for much more crazy stuff
We open with Lex Luthor and the Joker breaking into a secure vault. But hey, Joker is called Jester, and the two are breaking into the vault of murderous criminals. One sacrifice later, and Lex Luthor is the only hero left in a world of villains. So he warps away to our world (I’ll be referring to the DC Universe as our world, because it’s just easier), with is stuffed full of heroes like an overripe pinata.
On their planet, the Crime Syndicate is free to do whatever they want, due to a combination of fear and bribes. They only don’t kill the leaders and take over the planet due to fears of retaliatory nuclear strikes. But they’re working on their own bomb that can potentially destroy anywhere on the planet, which will tip the balance in their favor. Only a few brave souls stand up to them, as most who try don’t live to stand again. Continue reading →