A desperate solution for a troubled country: Lex Luthor for President with the Justice League in the service of the government. Only Batman and Superman stand against the new regime - and their disloyalty proves to be exactly what Luthor intended. Using their outcast status to instigate a scandal against Superman, Luthor finally tastes a victory in his vendetta against The Man of Steel.
From Executive Producer Bruce Timm and voiced by the cast from both hit Batman and Superman animated TV series including Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly and Clancy Brown, this DC Universe Original Animated Movie of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness's popular graphic novel seethes with political intrigue and action-packed battles between heroes all believing they're on the right side of the law.
In the usual comics setting, the villains are usually the public menace and the superheroes are called to solve the problem at hand. However in the latest on-going series that features the pairing of The World's Finest Superheroes (well at least in the DC comics realm), the table is turned against the super duo when Lex Luthor became president of the United States of America. The first story arc (lasting 6 issues) gave the generic superheroes team up an interesting twist by creating such unusual dilemma and now DC Animated Universe is presenting this tale as it's 6th direct to video original animated movie.
So what's good in this rendition of villain turning the public against the superheroes? Well first and foremost, you get a President rich enough to place a bounty on our dear superheroes' head (that would attracts the super villains' attention) and that President also happened to have a bunch of other superheroes in his disposal.Putting one and one together, it's not hard to visualize the mega duke fest featuring Batman and Superman against an array of superheroes and super villains. It's fun to see Superman and Batman pit their respective strength and wits against the combination forces of good and evil.
Their camaraderie here is also an interesting one, specially when it depicts Batman in his uncaring mannerism towards their friendship and yet when Superman is in trouble, he is always around to rescue the big blue. Personally there just a degree of homoerotic undertones in their partnership that's open to debate and detection
However, Public Enemies lacks the time to build up various supporting characters and their various motivation, specially the lead villain. In the comics realm, it took a few comics to establish how Lex Luthor managed to win the presidency with it's former villainous bad reputation and here, you only get a brief explanation of his victory. It's obvious that there isn't much time in this animation to go in depth with Lex Luthor's victory and the animation would like to hurry on with the bulk of the story but it's fairly difficult for newcomers or folks who had not gone through Lex's long campaign for presidency to appreciate the power that he wield and how he managed to turn the public opinion against super duo.
In closing, Superman / Batman : Public Enemies is a good fix to watch two iconic superheroes team up against a wide array of adversity. The characters and events developments are missing certain cohesiveness and explanation to make this fun animation a truly great outing for Superman and Batman.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
There's a lot of extras in both Disc 1 (which contains the main animation) and Disc 2 so let's get on with it.
Disc 1 Special Features
They are basically the same extra features that was in Green Lantern: First Flight and served largely as a promo piece for DC Animated Universe and DC comics' latest offerings.
Blackest Night: Inside the DC Comics event
An entry that has something to do with the Green Lanterns but then again, it has nothing to do with the First Flight animation. This is a promo piece of the current mega cross over event happening in the DC comics realm which involves using dead characters and multiple color corps beside the Green. Rather gimmicky if you ask me but apparently it’s selling out like hotcakes and DC comics are churning reprints to satisfy the demands.
Wonder Woman: The Amazon Princess
Just like Green Lantern, this is one important character from DC superheroes stable that does not received her due recognition as compared to Superman and Batman. This feature takes a look at Wonder Woman history and discusses the various issues that she faced in various medium.
Batman: Gotham Knight – An anime evolution
Batman: Gotham Knight is a tie in to the Dark Knight movie, much like how the Animatrix was to the Matrix franchise. Featuring six stories with Japanese Anime art style, this segment goes in depth on the formation and execution of this project.
From graphic novel to original animated movie – Justice League: The New Frontier
An animation adaption of Darwyn Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier. This limited series tried to bridges the gap between the Golden Age and the Silver Age of DC comics with a loving focus on the superheroes characters from both generations. Personally Justice League: The New Frontier was a great spin of the DC superheroes mythos and yet stayed true to their essence which resulted in a fresh take of their history. It is one of the best comic animations that DC comics had presented so far.
Green Lantern: First Flight - The animated movie sneak peak
This first look actually makes a good supplement to the First Flight animated movie. Various creative personals in the DC animation and comics came together to share insight on the Green Lanterns, covering extensively on characters such as Alan Scott, Hal Jordan and Sinestro. Filled with rough storyboard sketches, It also took a look at the making of this animated origin movie by giving the voice talent behind the animated characters a brief spotlight.
Disc 2 Special Features
This two disc special edition contains special features that goes in-depth with the characterization of Superman and Batman.
A test of minds: Superman and Batman
An interesting features that dig deeper on the psychology of the two orphans. It compares how these two differs from each other and what lead them to become who they are now. It traces how they were depicted back in the Golden age comics, how gritty things changed when Frank Miller portray them in The Dark Knight Returns and how Jeph Loeb would attempt to reconcile their partnership in the Superman / Batman comic series.
Dinner with DCU: and Special guest Kevin Conroy
Filmed as an informal chat over dinner table, the creative team behind the DCU shared how the DC animation got started. The folks that shared the interesting insights were Bruce Timm (Executive Producer), Andrea Romano (Voice/Casting Director), Gregory Noveck (SVP Creative Affairs, DC Comics) and Kevin Conroy (Voice Talent for Batman in most DC animated series). This special feature threw out various unexpected interesting tidbits information on what happens during the making of DC animation. The informal setting also created an relax environment for them to crack jokes and make merry with each other, allowing information to flow freely.
A First Look at Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
A special feature for the next original animated movie from DC Animated Universe and this time round, they are exploring parallel universe where superheroes and villains switch roles. In a concept that sound very much like JLA earth 2 graphic novel, you get the Justice League heading to an alternate world where their Justice League are a group of villains called the Crime Syndicate and Lex Luthor is the only person left to fight them. This is a grand concept and if it's executed properly, DC Animated Universe might have a winner with Crisis on Two Earths.
Bruce Timm's Top Picks
Personally, this section is the highlight of Disc 2. Bruce Timm, the man behind the revival of DC animation had chosen two episodes of Superman: - The Animated Series to be showcase here (namely The Demon Reborn and Knight Time). Since it's part of a Superman / Batman Dvd's special feature, these two episodes features the two iconic characters crossing path with each other. These two episodes varies greatly in scope and are interesting in their own respective ways. My favorite in these two episodes would be Knight Time as it features a missing Batman and Superman dropped by to investigate while playing guardian to Gotham City with Robin's help. Nuff'Said.
This comic animation has been given a fine presentation to bring out the wham bam animated fights between the superheroes and their enemies. The color looked rich and the sound were adequate to make the comics come alive in a television presentation.
by Richard Lim Jr
Posted on 10 January 2010