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COVERAGE - HOME VIDEO REVIEW

Justice League: Doom Home Video Release
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: February 28th, 2012

Synopsis:
Primetime television stars Nathan Fillion and Tim Daly, the reigning voices of Green Lantern and Superman, respectively, join an exciting group of actors reprising their famed cartoon roles in Justice League: Doom, an all-new entry in the popular series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies due in early 2012 from Warner Home Video. Justice League: Doom finds Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Cyborg and Batman on their heels when a team of super villains discover and implement the Dark Knight’s “contingency plans” for stopping any rogue Justice League member. The story is inspired by Mark Waid’s much-heralded JLA: Tower of Babel.

Blu-ray Bonus Features:
-Standard and high definition versions of the feature film
-UltraViolet™ Digital Copy
-Sneak Peak at Superman vs. The Elite, the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie
-Featurette – “A Legion of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story” – The skilled writer penned some of the best stories which consistently entertained fans. From his early writing career to adapting the popular work of All-Star Superman, this is the story of Dwayne McDuffie, as told by his family and friends.
-Featurette – “Guarding the Balance: Batman and the JLA” – Everyone has a weakness and so do superheroes, yet when they go rogue, their power can topple more than a few egos, they can shatter worlds. The Justice League is the most powerful organization of superheroes on the planet, but what if the Justice League went rogue, and decided to use their power for harm?
-Mini-featurette – “Their Time Has Come: Cyborg and the DC Universe’s New Diversity” – 2011 will go down in DC Comics storied history as a year when a rich diversity of characters were re-introduced into the spotlight alongside Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. One of the most celebrated of the re-imagined characters is Cyborg, who became the new Man of Steel in Geoff Johns’ altered universe storyline, Flashpoint.
-Creative team commentary
-Two bonus episodes from the Justice League animated series handpicked by Bruce Timm: Justice League - Wild Cards, Part 1 and 2, written by Stan Berkowitz and Dwayne McDuffie
-Digital Comic

Two-Disc Special Edition Bonus Features:
-Sneak Peak at Superman vs. The Elite, the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie
-Featurette – “A Legion of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story” – The skilled writer penned some of the best stories which consistently entertained fans. From his early writing career to adapting the popular work of All-Star Superman, this is the story of Dwayne McDuffie, as told by his family and friends.
-Two bonus episodes from the Justice League animated series handpicked by Bruce Timm: Justice League - Wild Cards, Part 1 and 2, written by Stan Berkowitz and Dwayne McDuffie
-UltraViolet™ Digital Copy
-Digital Comic

Single-Disc Bonus Features:
-Sneak Peak at Superman vs. The Elite, the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie




Justice League: Doom Blu-ray Review
by James Harvey

The Justice League: Doom Blu-ray release is, predictably, along the same lines as previous releases in the DC Universe Animated Original Movie line. A good package, though could be great with just a little more effort. The audio and video quality essentially falls along the same lines as previous releases, and bonus content is eerily similar to what we’ve seen before, with one very notable exception.

First up, we come to the audio and video quality. Well, Justice League: Doom sees itself suffering from banding, some artifacting and pixilation. It’s become pretty common at this point, similar to previous titles in the DC Universe Animated Original Movie line. Admittedly, it isn’t too distracting but still remains annoying nonetheless. Darker scenes take the worst of it, but there always seems to be a hint of some video problem. Despite that, the image is pretty crisp and detailed, but lacks that extra punch to really sell it as a great transfer. Instead, it’s simply good. As a reprieve, the audio quality is pretty outstanding. The action scenes sound absolutely astounding and epic, while the quieter scenes sound almost crystal clear. The mix allows for every speaker to get a solid workout, definitely showcasing everything the movie has to offer in terms of big action and adventure. The only real complaint here is that while the film sounds pretty amazing, it feels like it’s being held back just a shade. While everything is loud and worth cranking your speakers up for, it seems like the transfer is just shy of perfection. A stupendous sound mix that’s nearly flawless.

Moving on to the extras, here we get a mix of the stand bonus content that we’ve come to expect on these titles – debatably related featurettes and bonus episodes – but with the notable addition of one excellent documentary.

Up first is the enjoyable audio commentary with DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and creative director Mike Carlin, both of whom approach the main feature differently. The two discuss the original comic that inspired Justice League: Doom, how the movie came to be, the differences between the movie and the source material, and the characters. While not the most gripping commentary, it’s still pretty interesting. From there we movie on to a selection of featurettes, bonus episodes, and a very poignant documentary. The “Guarding the Balance: Batman and the JLA” looks at Batman’s relationship with the League, why he joins the group, the conflicts he’s had with them, and compares it to real-life instances and historical events. Interesting stuff that looks at the comics and history moreso than the movie. There's also a short featurette on Cyborg which fills us in on the character and how DC Comics is really bringing him to the forefront. Pretty informative, actually.

The must-watch bonus feature on this disc is “A League of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story,” a roughly 40-minute look at the life of writer Dwayne McDuffie. The fitting tribute to the late writer, who wrote Justice League: Doom along with countless other landmark animated programs, fills us in on the story of his life, chronicling his accomplishments and passions, and talking to people who worked with him, grew up with him, and loved him. It's essentially a mix of talking heads and archival footage of McDuffie, but it's incredibly fascinating because the passion is so real. This documentary is a reminder of how brilliant McDuffie was, and how heartbreaking it is to have lost him. There's so much to learn about McDuffie's life and while this documentary scratches the surfaces. I could have watched a documentary double or triple the length. He passed away in 2011 due to heart surgery complications. Do not skip this documentary. It’s required watching for fans of comics, animation ... pretty much anyone who wants to see the story of a remarkable and gifted man.

The disc is rounded off with a couple bonus episodes from Justice League - the two-part “Wild Cards” episode – a roughly 7-minute preview of the upcoming animated movie Superman Versus The Elite, a digital comic book excerpt of JLA: Tower of Babel, and some trailers. A digital copy and DVD edition of Justice League: Doom is also included.

Overall, Justice League: Doom is a Blu-ray not to be missed. Even if you find the main feature a bit of a letdown, the documentary on Dwayne McDuffie’s life is worth the price of admission alone. It’s a great tribute to the man who played a crucial role in the growth of DC Animation. The audio and video quality for Justice League: Doom falls along the lines of previous releases, so there’s no surprises there, and the same can be said of the majority of the bonus features. It is a solid package that fans will undoubtedly enjoy, even more so based on the reception of the main feature. If you have no interest in the main feature or most of the bonus content, I still recommend at least renting the Blu-ray release for the Dwayne McDuffie tribute documentary. It deserves to be seen. In short, regardless of your level in interest in the main feature, I still Highly Recommend picking this release up.

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